Mobile Devices and Connections (Covid-19 Edition)

Businesses no longer demand employees and customers to be in any particular physical location to provide and receive premium services.

– Michael Stephens

As I hit the official 7th day of our mandated shelter-in-place, the readings for this assignment meant more to me than usual. They hyperlinked library is needed now more than ever before. Libraries, other public spaces, businesses, restaurants, bars, book stores, coffee shops and countless other organizations have shut their doors to the public and we are forced to stay in.

This week’s lectures talked about mobile devices and connections and I found it fitting. Professor Stephens’ lecture asks the question: “how can the library/librarian always be within reach?” (2020). I wonder that myself. How are libraries handling this self quarantine and how are the patrons reacting to it? Some libraries may not have adapted technological advances that allow for an online catalogue or social media presence while others have the capability but may not know what to do with it. The workout studio that I’m a part of is holding live Zoom classes where the instructors are speaking and showing us how to the move while also watching us on our cameras and correcting our form.

Restaurants are offering take-out for food and cocktails and grocery stores are able to stay open and deliver. Companies are being flexible and doing what is necessary to give people what they want. What are libraries doing? As you can see, and as noted in Stephens’ “Serving the User When and Where The Are,”

businesses no longer demand employees and customers to be in any particular physical location to provide and receive premium services.

Mobile devices can help. According to Pew, in 2019, it was assumed that around 5 billion people had mobile devices, and over half of them where smartphones. I’m sure that number is only growing. That being said, younger, lower-income, less educated, or black or Hispanic people do own a smartphone but do not have a home broadband subscription, according to Pew data from 2015.

So we know that most people are likely to have access to mobile devices and they use their devices.

Chart showing that mobile technology, internet and social media use are more common in advanced economies.

What can libraries do during these self-quarantined times to continue to create connection? I suggest the following:

  • Email or use social media to post about library e-resources available to all card holders (i.e. Overdrive/Libby)
  • Offer folks library cards and allow them to show ID and proof of address through Zoom appointments, if possible. If not, offer temporary cards
  • Keep maker activities alive by offering TinkerCad tutorials and other tutorials
  • Offer neighborhood hold delivery and pickup during specific time slots to prevent crowds

So I hope I was able to answer the question. I hope with the data presented and my solutions above, libraries can be within reach during these isolating times.

Anderson, M., & Horrigan, J. B. (2016, October 3). Smartphones may not bridge digital divide for all. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from

Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor, SJSU SLIS

Silver, L. (2019, December 30). Smartphone Ownership Is Growing Rapidly Around the World, but Not Always Equally. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from


AR you tech savvy yet?

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

To give patrons the confidence and autonomy to use library technologies including, but not limited to, computer stations, printing stations, 3D printers, laser cutters, ipads, online catalogs and more. Click here to check out a prototyped version!

Description of Community you wish to engage:

I hope to engage the older adult community. Ideally, this emerging technology plan will help anyone new to certain technologies however it will be mostly helpful to seniors over the age of 65. According the Census, there are about 73 million baby boomers on earth (2019). Adults are considered part of the boomer generation if they were born between 1946 and 1964 (2019).

Action Brief Statement:

Convince older adults that by using my augmented reality app, they will have the ability to use the technology around them on their own which will increase their confidence because they’ll be able to independently use the myriad resources around them and not wait around until someone comes to show them how.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Andrews, J. A., Brown, L. J., Hawley, Mark S.; & Astell, A. J. (2019). Older adults’ perspectives on using digital technology to maintain good mental health: Interactive group study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(2), N.PAG. doi:10.2196/11694

Chang, I-Chiu. (2018). Antecedents and consequences of social networking site knowledge sharing by seniors. Library Hi Tech., 36(4), 651-664.

Chopik, W. J. (2016). The benefits of social technology use among older adults are mediated by reduced loneliness. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 19(9), 551–556.

Connolly, C. (2013). Education programs for seniors: Aligning accessibility options with needs. In R. McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 4315-4322.

Courtney, K. L., Demiris, G., & Hensel, B. K. (2007). Obtrusiveness of information-based assistive technologies as perceived by older adults in residential care facilities: A secondary analysis. Medical Informatics & the Internet in Medicine, 32(3), 241–249. doi:10.1080/14639230701447735

Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology: Vol 4. (pp. 7026-7035). doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3

Feature #01: Innovative use of Technology in Libraries. (2013, October 11). Retrieved March 15, 2020, from

Gill, Asif Qumer. (2016). IoT-enabled emergency information supply chain architecture for elderly people: The Australian context. Information Systems., 58, 75-86.

Hecher, M., Möstl, R., Eggeling, E., Derler, C., & Fellner, D. W. (2011). “Tangible culture” – Designing virtual exhibitions on multi-touch devices. Information Services & Use, 31(3/4), 199–208.

Kim, M. J., Lee, C.K., & Preis, M. (2016). Seniors’ loyalty to social network sites: Effects of social capital and attachment. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6), 1020–1032. doi:10.1016

Martínez-Alcalá, C. I., Rosales-Lagarde, A., Hernández-Alonso, E., Melchor-Agustin, R., Rodriguez-Torres, E. E., & Itzá-Ortiz, B. A.. (2018). A Mobile App (iBeni) With a neuropsychological basis for cognitive stimulation for elderly adults: pilot and validation study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(8), 75. doi:10.2196

Mcmillan, K., Flood, K., & Glaeser, R. (2017). Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and the marine conservation movement. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 27, 162–168. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2820

Myung J. K., Choong-Ki L., Michael W.P., (2016). Seniors’ loyalty to social network sites: Effects of social capital and attachment. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6). doi:10.101

Pew Research Center. Older adults and technology use (2014). Retrieved from

Romano Bergstrom, Jennifer. (2016). Older adults fail to see the periphery in a Web site task. Universal Access in the Information Society., 15(2), 261-270.

Sacramento, Carolina. (2019). Accessibility and communicability on Facebook: A case study with Brazilian elderly. First Monday., 24(1), 1-1.

Stokke, R. randi. stokke@ntnu. n. (2018). Older people negotiating independence and safety in everyday life using technology: qualitative study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(10), 69. doi:10.2196/10054

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

Mission: My mission with this project is to help senior citizens learn how to use the emerging technologies around them by creating an app that acts as a manual for tech products.

Guidelines: I envision the app being both visual and auditory but for the purposes of a library, a suggested guideline would be to use the visual option and only use the auditory option if headphones are being used. As with any app, there will also be a suggestion to beware of surroundings as safety is a priority.

Policy: The app can be used outside the library so app policies won’t necessarily have to be determined by staff. Similar to how the Libby or Kindle app can be integrated with library books, I envision this app being used with tech widely but can have a library integration for specific library technology.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

 Because the app isn’t built yet, I’d hope to receive initial funding through venture funding or if I can build most of it myself, have the technology companies pay to use this service. For example, a Toshiba printer will pay to use my app as a way for people to learn how to use their machines. This is a wine for the, as more knowledge of their product leads to happier customers and less staffed help line. If this app every does become something were user need to pay, I’m hoping to make library tech options free for anyone who logs in with a library card (similar to the New York Times).

Action Steps & Timeline: 

 This technology will need to be prototyped as I hope to raise the most funding by having companies like Google buy it to use it when they wish to show their customer base how to use any of their products. Because I work full time, take over 9 units of classes, and have a family, I feel like I would need at least 6 months to get something like this up and running. The flow dependencies go like this: continued research, a working prototype, more research, pitch to my startup contact at UC Berkeley, present and secure funding, build working App Version 1.0, sell B2B. If my pitch to the startup professor falls through, I would have to find a way into pitch sessions on my own. If I’m not able to secure funding, I’d have to build more of it myself or post a job description on and find some free labor (interns) to help me build. As mentioned in the Feature #01: Innovative use of Technology in Libraries article, “with regard to software, there are so many free applications out there that can give you the capability to create new things” (2020).

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

 Assuming that the app lands in the library once it’s working, I don’t project having the libraries needing more staff for this app. I would treat my app like any other library app where librarians can learn the basics of the app and technology enough to promote and show but allowing the patrons to dive deep and learn more if needed. The app itself will be very simple. The user simply points the app’s camera to an object (say a printer) and augmented reality arrows will point to the on/off button letting the user know that if the printer isn’t working, it may be because it’s off and suggest a quick push.

Training for this Technology or Service:

I’ve worked in a library so I know that as technologies are integrated, there is very little staff training. We are asked to know that a specific service or product exists but we aren’t always shown how to use it. To remedy that, I would create a short video showing people how the app works. It would be up to me and my staff to create the video and have it available for any staff member who wishes to learn how to use the app. If libraries agree, I’d hold video calls through Zoom or a similar platform, and show staff how to use it, have them practice and be able to ask any questions. I’d recommend an hour for this e-meeting but I expect it to take less than 30 minutes as the technology is simple.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

 Because I’d partner with other companies, I plan on having marketing come from many areas. Companies can market how easy it is to use their product with my new AR app and I think that could stir a lot of attention. I on the other hand, would market my product to libraries and senior homes by contacting branch managers and older adult community directors to show them how we can better the lives of their patrons with my new app. I think media coverage will help promote the app and so could newspapers and radio stations that older adults may listen to frequently. Finally, companies like AARP can help promote the app as well.


I’d find myself happy with my app if we have an open rate of over 25%, conversion rate to any “PRO” services of over 25%, and a constant engagement rate of over 25%. I want people to use my app for the purpose of becoming comfortable with technology. If they end up using it less and less because they are learning how to use technology on their own, then I would deem my app successful. I would like to see a constant download rate because I want people of all ages to use this app one day. I envision someone buying a smart coffee maker and instead of a paper manual or an ask to visit a website with instructions, they can just use my app to see where to put the water, coffee, and what buttons to press.

Work Cited

Feature #01: Innovative use of Technology in Libraries. (2013, October 11). Retrieved March 15, 2020, from

Mcmillan, K., Flood, K., & Glaeser, R. (2017). Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and the marine conservation movement. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 27, 162–168. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2820

U.S. Census Bureau. (2019, December 10). By 2030, All Baby Boomers Will Be Age 65 or Older. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from


User Research from Pew

When you work in a library, or any other place, you begin to see patterns. I chose to write this week’s post on User Research because I’m actually very interested in numbers as a way to solidify theories. We can learn a lot from people and the actions of a few families can tell us that other families are similar.

For example, I can speak to people and learn that my millennial peers don’t pay for cable. In the Home Broadband 2015 Pew article by Horrigan, J. B., & Duggan, we learn that ” 15% of American adults report they have become “cord cutters” – meaning they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service” (2019). It’s also shown that general, “home broadband adoption seems to have plateaued” as people turn to be “smartphone-only” adults (2019).

But it’s not just cable that we seem to be cutting out of our lives. As previously mentioned, more and more people are no longer paying for at home internet. The fact that less people pay for internet at home can correlate to the fact that 78% of adults under 30 own a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 88% who did so in 2010 (Anderson, 2019). The image below shows how the number of smartphone and tablets purchased are growing but all other devices stopped growing, or declined. More and more people feel like they can access the internet by

The findings above might explain why, according to the pew article, Public libraries and technology: From “houses of knowledge” to “houses of access” say that 77% of Americans now think it is “very important” for public libraries to provide free access to computers and the internet to the community. I see this first hand when people are outside the library before it opens and rush to a computer. Or those that stay with their personal laptops after we close but hang out in the parking lot to access the wireless internet.

Another Pew article, 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries, mentions that 90% of Americans ages 16 and older say that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community. The internet provides access to jobs, news, work, and community so it’s not wonder that the public sees the importance in library services. The social media community, as we know, has grown to be a large part of people’s lives as well. When I worked in a library, we sometimes had people shame those that took up computers for social networking instead of checking email but that’s not okay. Social media is also important and it’s a great way for people to connect with others. For example 72% of adult internet users/62% of entire adult population are on Facebook; 28% of adult internet users/24% of entire adult population are on Instagram; 25% of adult internet users/22% of entire adult population are on LinkedIn; and 23% of all internet users/20% of entire adult population are on Twitter (Duggan, 2019)

They concluded that 47% of total U.S. employment is in the high risk category, including most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, office and administrative support occupations, and production workers. Among the jobs at the highest risk for computerization: telemarketers, title examiners, insurance underwriters, watch repairers and tax preparers.

Anderson, M. (2019, December 31). U.S. Technology Device Ownership 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from

DeSilver, D. (2014, August 15). As machines take on more human work, what’s left for us? Retrieved March 8, 2020, from

Duggan, M. (2019, December 31). Demographics of Social Media Users in 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from

Horrigan, J. B., & Duggan, M. (2019, December 31). Home Broadband 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from

Public libraries and technology: From “houses of knowledge” to “houses of access”. (2019, December 31). Retrieved March 8, 2020, from

Zickuhr, K., & Purcell, K. (2019, December 31). Library Engagement Typology. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from