A Liberty Township man has given his fellow Delaware County District Library patrons an easy and hands-free way to find out what's going on at the district's four locations.
Patrons now can ask Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, what events are scheduled for the library system by using their Amazon Echo devices or smartphones.
Avneet Sarang, a senior director at Pellucent Technologies, joined library staff Aug. 9 at the Powell branch to debut the new "skill" for Alexa.
Sarang, who ordered his first Echo earlier this year, said the device immediately struck him as a new, fun way to explore his passion for coding. He said he came up with the idea to make the library's events calendar accessible via Alexa after asking the Echo what was going on at the Powell branch and getting no reply.
"I think getting that information using (your) voice is the future, and I'm excited to create such a skill for the Delaware County District Library," he said.
Patrons can enable the skill by searching for "Delaware County District Library" in the Alexa and Echo section of Amazon.com or through the Alexa mobile app.
After the skill is enabled, users can ask Alexa questions such as: "Are there any events today at the Orange library?" and "What's going on tomorrow at the Powell library?"
George Needham, director of the Delaware County District Library, called the debut of the system's own Alexa skill "very exciting."
"We're delighted to have the opportunity to be the first library in Ohio to offer this sort of a service," he said.
Library spokeswoman Nicole Fowles said patrons should leave reviews online at the skill store or offer critiques on the skill to library staff.
"Any suggestions people have, we would be happy to roll (those) out in versions 2.0 and 3.0 (of the skill)," she said.
Sarang said his contribution was an effort to give back to the library system that's given so much to him and his family.
"We just love you guys for what you do," he said to the Powell branch's staff during his presentation.