Technology | December 18, 2019
With mobile usage on the rise and 21st-century classrooms using tablets and smartphones, libraries need to consider how they incorporate mobile technology.
Globally, it is estimated that more than five billion people own mobile devices. Research shows that 81 percent of Americans, 86 percent of Swedish and 75 percent of French adults own a smartphone. That means that anytime, anywhere access is a global expectation for libraries to consider. Your library mobile technology strategy should focus on satisfying your library patrons as they browse your site from their mobile devices. Having a responsive library website means considering a variety of factors. Things like resizing or repositioning design elements, load time and different experiences based on any given operating system are all important in satisfying the expectation of your mobile library users.
Having an integrated experience across desktop and mobile is just the starting point for your mobile strategy. There is also a way for traditional library services to be enhanced through library mobile technology and new services to be created specifically for mobile users. Technology assets like digital library cards, barcode scanners, the ability to download and read e-books and ways to enhance library events through mobile should be considered. A mobile technology plan allows your library to easily become integrated into the everyday life of your users.
The goal of a library mobile technology strategy is not to create more work for staff, but to improve the end-user experience and increase usage.
A 2019 EBSCO User Research study found that library users would use a mobile app for research-on-the-go and for organizing content. Library users with long-term needs like a thesis or publication are more likely to use a mobile app in their research. These findings demonstrate that library mobile technology should include not just a basic app experience, but a library-centric app experience. A 2018 paper notes that “Mobile-enabled patrons require library content that fits their devices and their needs. To create responsive collections, librarians must approach apps as an emerging resource type at the confluence of content and format.”
The goal of a library mobile technology strategy is not to create more work for staff, but to improve the end-user experience and increase usage. Defining specific goals within a mobile technology strategy and then looking at vendors who can help develop those goals and provide solutions to meet them will create a powerful mobile experience for library users.
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