Utilization of mobile technologies is essential for any modern library today. Coming back to the idea of meeting patrons where they are, using mobile tech to engage with patrons is essential to this concept because right now, almost everyone is mobile – almost. That last part is important, and I’ll come back to that later in this post.
Jan Holmquist, in his MOOC on mobile technology, tells us that the mobile technologies in the library “must be used in a meaningful way.” That is to say that in developing strategies for using these technologies, librarians need to think about why they are using them, not just that they are using them. How does a new mobile outreach program engage patrons in new ways? Who are we reaching that we didn’t before? What benefit does this new initiative bring to the library and its patrons? And, what are the pitfalls, roadblocks and concerns in implementing these technologies?
“It’s about making conversations happen and connecting with people,” Holmquist goes on to say. This is the cornerstone of the hyperlinked library and the heart of what we are learning through this course – we are learning how to create connections to the library, within the library, and among those who use the library.
To circle back to the issue of almost everyone being mobile:
Something that’s been on my mind more and more throughout the course is the digital divide. The more I learn about all the exciting new technologies libraries are debuting, the more concerned I am at how these developments might be outpacing underserved communities. Having yet to work inside a library, I may be overstepping here, but I would caution when library staff are making choices about what technologies to implement, to take deep consideration of who might be left out – especially when transitioning a service to a purely mobile platform. It will be essential in the coming years to ensure that our technolust isn’t further marginalizing already marginalized communities and that we take great care to keep all services inclusive.
Holmquist, J. (2013). MOOC. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJFU8Vb2i7KwdDjZwceGOhRlb6LuuYMQV