Eat Your Raspberry Pi: Should Libraries Invest in Micro-Computing?

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Raspberry Pi

Image Credit: Ian Barbour @ Flickr

The original micro-computer is rolling out with a new model, and it smells like Raspberry Pi.

It is Raspberry Pi!

The cult favorite among computer hobbyists, Raspberry Pi’s Model B+ will add more pins for sensors and use less power consumption, not that it already pulls that much wattage anyways. The current B+ model retails for around $35, and what you get is basically a board. Monitor, mouse, keyboard, hard drive, power cord and case not included.


So perhaps the question you’re wondering is: why would a library invest in a score of Raspberry Pi’s? (Not to eat mind you.)

Raspberry Pi B+ Model

Raspberry Pi B+ Model. Image Credit:

Our Foundation’s goal is to advance the education of adults and children, particularly in the field of computers, computer science and related subjects. – Raspberry Pi Foundation

The initial goal of the project, to educate children in Computer Science, has revolutionized the education landscape with children and adults learning more about Computing and Electronics. –, Raspberry Pi manufacturer

Makers and DIY-ers love these small computer boards because it is a cheap and easy way to learn and experiment with computer sensors. An added benefit is learning how computer code interacts with the sensors, resulting in some interesting projects and devices. The cost of entry is fairly small compared to the cost of iPads and iPhone, yet Raspberry Pi is still not a ubiquitous library staple. Perhaps it is because it looks too techy, even though it has specs like a Pentium II. Or perhaps librarians haven’t found a use for it or find it too niche.

Either way, Raspberry Pi would make a great program in an already thriving maker space, as it would allow kids to tinker with computer boards, find out how they work, and discover computer code simply for the love of learning. I could imagine additional workshops where kids could design their own cases for the boards, or run contests for the most innovative projects. Whether they create remote controls for light switches or host a WordPress blog using one of these devices, the result will be incredible as they learn how computers work.

Hmmm… Library Currents running on Raspberry Pi… what do you think?


Mickel is an MLIS and the creator of Library Currents. His inspiration for the blog was the SJSU course "The Hyperlinked Library" taught by Dr. Michael Stephens, a course that is also a worldwide MOOC. If you wish to contact him, feel free to write to Mickel Paris at

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