Addressing Rural Library Technology Budgets with Single Board Computers: Testing the APC 8950 Rock Circuit Board Computer for Patron Access

Michael D Wells


Over the last decade, libraries have faced enormous budgetary challenges when it comes to implementing new technologies. These challenges are very pronounced in rural areas where libraries struggle to develop and define a path for purchasing and replacing systems that have become outdated. The author attempted to create a unit to replace aging OPAC terminals and to provide a low cost computing option for budget constrained rural libraries. The initial attempt detailed in this paper involved purchasing and configuring an APC 8950 Rock single board computer. Unfortunately, due to limitations of this APC unitâs existing Android based operating system, the initial effort failed to yield a computer that could be used in a library by average patrons. Future plans are outlined for the development of a second system using the more broadly accepted Raspberry Pi platform. The success of this technological endeavor may empower libraries and patrons in their communities to have more control of the technology they develop and use in the future.


Single board computers; Raspberry Pi; rural libraries; linux; android; budgets; technology

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ISSN: 1947-525X