Meet Iain Brown! Having joined the team in 2010, Iain is one of our longest-serving members and has been integral in developing collectionHQ into the award-winning library software that it is today.
Iain lives near Glasgow, Scotland, where the notoriously bad weather doesn’t stop him enjoying long-distance running.
We caught up with Iain to learn his thoughts on how libraries can benefit from new and emerging technologies.
Hi Iain! You’ve worked in software development for nineteen years (fourteen of those specializing in library software). You must have witnessed lots of changes. What technological advances do you believe are going to help libraries over the next five years?
I’m biased, but I know collectionHQ has some really exciting plans for new developments over the next five years that will definitely help libraries. Recently we’ve been hard at work on adding advancements to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion data within collectionHQ. Libraries play such a critical role in providing inclusive collections to their communities, so it’s exciting to be working in this area.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area that is changing all aspects of society and is definitely more than just a buzzword. I think libraries will be able to find positive ways to harness these advancements to help serve their communities through AI-driven recommendation systems and personalized services. It’s possible AI could also help with improving cataloging too. We’re just at the start of seeing how AI will transform all of the IT industry so it will be exciting to watch how this evolves in ways we can’t even imagine right now.
Improved accessibility technologies to help patrons with disabilities is another area I expect to grow, such as accessible design features, and inclusive digital content.
Additionally, across the IT industry, we are seeing the adoption of sustainable technologies and practices. I think this is something that will continue to evolve over the next five years, whether it’s energy-efficient considerations when building new branches or IT providers moving to decarbonize their operations.
It sounds like there are exciting times ahead! What is it that you love most about your job and working with libraries?
I joined in May of 2010 so I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the full journey since we changed name to collectionHQ (formerly smartSM) and went on to be acquired by Baker & Taylor. My job involves leading part of the development team and overseeing development projects for exciting new features.
Libraries are a key part of any community and they provide an essential service. So, I really enjoy getting to work on a product that helps librarians and hopefully makes their job easier.
What book would you hope to find at your local library?
My favourite book is “When you are engulfed in flames” by David Sedaris. Partly because it links to the time when my wife and I first started dating and we bonded over how much we loved it. I also read it over a few days in coffee shops and bars in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, so it is tied to that good memory. Beyond the personal connection, it’s such a genuinely funny and optimistic book which inspired me to embrace opportunities to meet new people and understand their perspectives.
Tell us about your happiest memory of the library.
The day my local library started having computer games to check out is a hard day to beat for 10-year-old me.
To close our interview, we like to go on a bit of an adventure. If you could choose one literary character you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse, who would it be?
Probably Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think that way we can just hitch a ride on a passing spacecraft and sidestep the whole zombie apocalypse inconvenience.
Finally, what book would you like to live in?
House of Leaves. With property prices where they are a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside sounds great. Sure, the whole lurking horrors in the impossible space would be a bit of an issue, but hopefully still worth it.
Thanks for chatting with us today, Iain!