Jim Loter, director of information technology for the Seattle Public Library, in the KIRO Radio studios. (Photo: Erynn Rose)

How often do you visit your local public library, in person or online?

If you’re a heavy technology user, you’re actually more likely to be engaged with your library and take advantage of its resources, according to a recent study of library users by the Pew Research Center.

So where are libraries headed, and how can they keep up with the expectations and needs of modern technology users? That’s our topic this week on the GeekWire radio show, with our guest Jim Loter, the director of information technology at the Seattle Public Library.

Co-hosting this week is GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano, who has written on the topic of library technology for GeekWire.

Upcoming Event: The Seattle Public Library is hosting a Library Town Hall event on Thursday, June 12, at the Moz headquarters in Seattle, with the goal of understanding how it can better serve startups, entrepreneurs, small businesses and others along those lines. RSVP for the event here.

The library conversation begins in the second segment of the show, at 9:40 in the audio player below. You can also listen directly via this MP3 file.

The show begins with our weekly news roundup, covering topics including Microsoft’s upcoming Skype Translator feature and the closet- and garage-sharing startup Stash.

App of the Week: Oyster e-book subscription service.

Name that Tech Tune: The answer to last week’s challenge: Amazon Drones. Congrats to our randomly selected winner, Tom Schonhoff, who coincidentally was Amazon employee No. 5.

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  • Cathy Schmidt

    Regarding your guest from the Seattle Public Library, Jim stated that the reason the library doesn’t use filters is that the majority of patrons don’t want them. He stated that based on simple guesswork, and he is wrong.
    Use of filters within the library has been a discussion among my peers, who are middle aged, middle income individuals, most of whom are college educated. We are Seattleites. Roughly 9 out of 10 of us want filters to keep pornography off the library computers. Jim is taking the easy, lazy stance of doing NOTHING to address our concerns. Just because Seattle leans liberal doesn’t mean we don’t care about protecting our kids from seeing offensive, sleazy photos while they walk by a library patron who has a severe lack of moral values.
    What people view from their home computers is their personal prerogative. On the public computer, patrons should be free to walk the computer aisle without fear of being face to face with offensive material.
    If Jim cares about the concerns of library patrons, he will conduct a poll to determine how the public feels. Yes, it will require time and effort. But as it is now, many people such as myself are feeling like the majority of us aren’t heard. It’s the minority that screams and shouts about freedom. The majority of us are disgusted that the library has no backbone, and no interest in helping to address this problem. I’m 55 years old and don’t want to see and hear another viewing that crap in the library, let alone a child seeing and hearing it.
    The majority of people would prefer to visit a library that doesn’t allow highly objectionable material. It’s sad that such a small percentage of “creeps” and perverts get their way just because Jim is too lazy to do something about the problem and hides behind the adage that Seattle is liberal, so anything goes.

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