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A New Chapter in Library Tech

January 8, 2021
a man standing
Derrick Mason (Courtesy Photo)

Derrick Mason takes the reins as UW’s first innovative media and learning spaces librarian.

 

By Micaela Myers

 

Whether it’s bringing in the latest technology or finding ways to make each space in the libraries more engaging, Derrick Mason, the university’s first innovative media and learning spaces librarian, is ready to use his creativity and makerspace background to take UW Libraries to the next level.

Mason earned his master’s degree in library and information science from Kent State University and brings 15 years of library experience with a focus on tech-related trends in the profession.

UW’s Coe Library already offers One Button Studio, where students, faculty and staff can record videos or podcasts in just one easy step. It also houses the multimedia lab Studio Coe, home to a variety of software.

“I plan to see how we can further expand the offerings at Studio Coe and One Button Studio,” says Mason, who started his position in late July. “I could see us trying to expand One Button to other libraries and community organizations.”

Community engagement is one of Mason’s goals. But first he’s taking stock of where the libraries are and where they can go.

“I started off gauging what kind of tech we have and what new emerging tech we can integrate into that space,” he says. This includes the next evolution in virtual reality: mixed reality, which combines virtual reality with the real world.

“Tech is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives,” Mason says. “We can make it more user-friendly with the extended realities. I could see these as a way to introduce the students and faculty to that tech. They can use their creativity to apply the tech to their assignments or projects.”

The second part of his title, learning spaces, will involve looking at how he can repurpose some of the spaces in the libraries to be more engaging, such as a touch technology wall with data and infographics or an interactive art exhibit.

“The whole purpose is to have people come in and see all we offer and come check it out,” Mason says. “I like that I’m given a lot of autonomy to brainstorm these ideas and get creative.”

Being more computational, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial are some of the goals President Ed Seidel has set for UW, and Mason looks forward to the library being part of that vision.

He says, “A library is always about providing access to information, so I’d like these spaces to be the access point to emerging technology.”

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