Getting Started
If you are just getting started with Raspberry Pi and other maker projects, it can be overwhelming given the tremendous amount of materials and equipment available. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been developing guides with beginners in mind. I learned at my training at Picademy that a great way to get started is to just work through these type of tutorials. Many starter kits include guides with step by step instructions that match the components in the kit. To begin, just set a goal of working through 5-10 tutorials. When you are working with them, be sure to try to tweak the code or setup to deepen your understanding. This tweaking and playing is how you can move from following tutorials to developing your own projects. (It is also very fun.) You will find that by doing small examples, ideas for new applications will appear and you'll start connecting the functionality with some of the problems you want to solve.

It is also important to not work alone. Consider joining or starting a Raspberry Jam or Maker Meetup. You'll find help when you get stuck and also make great friendships. You'll find a great community of curious people and potential collaborators. If you can't find a community near you, use the web to find online communities like the Raspberry Pi Forums, Google + community, and CodeNewbie (March is for makers). You can also contact us to get advice on where to start. Head to our training page to find live events and online courses.

Live stream events

Libraries provide amazing programs for the community. Why not share these programs with a larger audience using the Raspberry Pi to stream video? I guarantee your marketing department will be excited to try this and you can broadcast your event to using social media networks.

Ustream put a tutorial up and your IT Department or local user group can help you get it setup.

Streaming video has other applications. Do you need extra security? How about a program to help library users make a bird cam?

What other applications do you see for streaming video? I thought we could put a live camera for kids to check on our turtle Munch.

RAD: Readers' Advisory Machine with Raspberry Pi

Photo credits: Matthew Murray,
As we see devices like Siri and Alexa take on question answering services, projects like Matthew Murray's RAD: Readers' Advisory Device that uses a Raspberry Pi to recommend books is great example of DIY projects in libraries using technology to provide core services in new ways.

Watch it in action:

Pibrary Invitation problem: Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg provides over 50 thousand free ebooks in html, epub, kindle and plain text formats without copyright restriction.

Problem: how could we use a Raspberry Pi so the books are easier to read, accessed by more people or could be discovered and understood in new ways?

Some ideas to get you started:
- Text analysis (ex: most popular words by book)
- Web applications (tweeting the Great Books)
- eReader (turn the Pi into a reading device)
- eBook Server (make a device Free Little Libraries could add to their location to allow people to download ebooks from their site)

Pi Digital Display

Photo credit:
Read and follow how to use Raspberry Pis to make displays throughout the library.

Using a Raspberry Pi as a Versatile and Inexpensive Display Device

Copy this idea: Raspberry Pi Maker Station

Photo credit: Westlake Porter Public Library

The Westlake Porter Public Library had two checkout stations they couldn't give away. So they ingeniously turned them into Maker Stations with Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices.

Read about the project on their website.

Free training alert: Raspberry Pi MOOCs from Coursera

Image credit: Coursera
If you want to deepen your knowledge of the Python and Raspberry Pi, consider signing up for these self-paced MOOCs from Coursera. You could create a study group at the library and get the community involved too. The instructor is Ian Harris, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science University of California, Irvine.

Interfacing with the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Platform and Python Programming for the Raspberry Pi

The classes are part of a 6 part specialization where you:
Design, create, and deploy a fun IoT device using Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms.

Pibrary Invitation problem: Self checkout machine

Glen Walker of Selwyn Libraries demonstrates how he put together a self-checkout machine using spare computer parts from his library. He estimates he saved the library 30,000 dollars (about 22K in the US). He said he freed up money for other library resources such as staff. He used code written by Eric Melton from the 
Kirkendall Public Library.

Helpful for translating it for a Raspberry Pi, Saurab Kumar published how he used a Raspberry Pi to scan barcodes.

Could we build a self checkout station with the Raspberry Pi that underfunded libraries could use to improve service or reallocate money for more direct services? Help us today and join the Pibrary Challenge.

Here is another version from the USA.

A librarian's guide to using Raspberry Pi in the library

Help us write it. Join the Pibrary Project today!

BrowseBot Project: making ebooks physical

Projects start with ideas. Then you have to figure out how to translate your vision to reality. This involves breaking the problem into smaller pieces. I have a vision for an interactive robot that allows library users to browse ebooks at libraries and outreach events. I was able to complete a small piece of the project during the Picademy training sponsored by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Computer History Museum.

Help with the project or watch it develop on the Github page.

Library Machines & Raspberry Pi

If you are interested in technology and libraries you need to follow the Labrary at Harvard University.

Photo credit:

They posted a creative project called Object Lens which “allows users to capture video of their drawings, notes, and other two-dimensional or low-relief objects.”

Read more about the project and visit the Labrary website.

Turn a Raspberry Pi into an Ebook Server

Photo credit: Linux Magazine
In this tutorial Dmitri Popov shows you how to turn a Raspberry Pi into an Ebook Server with Calibre.

Raspberry Pi OPACS

A Raspberry Pi OPAC (online public access catalog)

Photo credit:

A flexible tool for libraries of any size, use Raspberry Pis to provide access to your catalog in the library.

Instructions from Jed Phillips

Pis In the Children's Depart.

Photo credit:
There are many ways to use Raspberry Pis in children's areas and for programming. Here are some projects to get your ideas flowing.

Physical computing with Scratch

Create an Interactive Pixel Pet

Minecraft, Minecraft, Minecraft (Coding blocks in Minecraft video)

Project idea: book based magic eight ball

The Rapsberry Pi Foundation has a great tutorial on how to code a magic eight ball using a Sense HAT and Python. Why not make a book recommendation system where when a reader shakes a box or ball it recommends a book from your collection?

Post your results here!

DIY Book Scanner

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Library PiBeacon

Create beacons in the library to alert patrons of programs and new services when they are in your library. Messages will be sent directly to their phone.
Instructions here:

There are some commercial apps available and some libraries are starting to experiment with in-library messaging. Privacy and spam are big concerns. Read more about beacons in the articles below:

Beacons and Libraries
3/2016, Computers in Libraries, Connection, Not Collection: Using iBeacons to Engage Library Users
2015, ACRL, Keeping Up With... Beacons
3/2015, David Lee King, iBeacons and the Library
1/2015, Fast Company, The Internet of Things Plan to Make Libraries and Museums Awesomer
11/2014, Library Journal, "Beacon" Technology Deployed by Two Library App Makers
8/2014, Stephen Abram, Beacons: Emerging Technology with Library Application

More Beacon tutorials:

2/2016, MagPi, Issue 42, p. 38, Sniffur (dog-tracker) [PDF]
9/2015, MakeUseOf, Christian Cawley, Build a DIY iBeacon with a Raspberry Pi
12/2014, TruthLabs, Beacon tracking with Node.js and Raspberry Pi
6/2014, Raspberry Pi Geek, BeaconAir - Track your Pi
5/2014, Wade Wegner, Create an iBeacon Transmitter with the Raspberry Pi
2/2014, PrinceTronics, iBeacon minimal setup w/Raspberry Pi (PiBeacon)