Drones or ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAVs) will become a regular part of life, used in research, transportation and delivery, artistic production, news coverage and reporting, law enforcement and surveillance, and entertainment.

Images of drones flying above us conjure a variety of conflicting emotions: a sense of wonder and possibility and, yet, concern about potential consequences—particularly in relation to their use in warfare and surveillance. With the Federal Aviation Authority’s release of new regulations for drones in late summer, one thing is certain: use of this emerging technology will become more widespread. As with many other modern-day tools, libraries are prepared to help patrons understand how drones work, how they can be utilized constructively, and how to navigate the complex implications of their widespread use.


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The motto of Arapahoe Libraries is “Let’s find out.” In keeping with this commitment to curiosity and exploration, Arapahoe introduces patrons to new technologies through Show and Tech, a program that includes Drones at the Library, a hands-on primer and demonstration. Arapahoe Libraries ensures access to new technologies through strategic curation and direct delivery of those technologies to patrons.

As drones are used more widely, the need for research, analysis and debate of their role in society has surfaced as a topic of study at many schools. To that end, the Joint Library of Broward College & Florida Atlantic University developed a Research Guide for students, with questions to help guide the inquiry, relevant books, and links to searches via the catalog, databases and other resources.

Georgia Highlands College Library has taken a more hands on approach with Library Drones, a lending program at each of its four campuses. Drones can be checked out by all students and faculty and, not surprisingly, they are in great demand! GHC’s Library extends this opportunity to younger members of the community through its partnership with a summer coding camp that includes drone demonstrations in its programming.  

How does your library innovate to bring new technologies to your patrons? Let us know! E-mail: futureoflibraries@ala.org.