Mobile phone usage has increased exponentially in the last 20 years. I remember being in high school and getting my first cell phone, a little brick that did nothing more than call, text and play snake. Now, according to a Pew Research Center study, around 76% of adults have incredibly advanced smartphones in our hands. Knowledge is only a click away.
How does our use of cell phones change the way we learn, the way we look for information, and the way that information professionals can share information? As the world changes, we must adapt. As information professionals, we must use technology to help provide knowledge and not become obsolete.
As a student, I use my mobile device for many things. I have the canvas app downloaded on my phone, I have the library website always open in my browser to make it easier to search for information on a trusted site. As an information professional, I am no different. I have my work email set up on my phone so I can answer student questions wherever I am, I have the Palmer College of Chiropractic app loaded on my phone, I created a Palmer Library West campus Instagram in order to share information faster and in a place I know students look every day. I try my best to use my mobile device as a way to connect with my patrons.
When reading about Wolfwalk, I was impressed. I love the idea of having an interactive app that focuses on history and information found in the library. Being able to walk around campus (NC State) and look at the landmark that you are reading about in real-time is such a cool feature. I am one of those people that will walk by a cool building and wonder who built it, why, and what its history is. I would definitely use this app, I can imaging standing in front of a building and pulling out my phone to use this app. I do not see its application on my tiny campus, however, this is amazing for larger schools and historical areas (run by public libraries nearby).
The article I found the most interesting was the Tableterians article. I think that more libraries should take the idea of a mobile librarian to heart, think literally. Give them a mobile device capable of all the same things that their desktop database and scanners have and send them out onto the floor to mingle and help. This would be extremely useful to students looking for books, or patrons who are nervous about asking for help. Just the idea of using a program like MobileCirc, which allows you to checkout, check-in, renew, and put holds on items from your mobile device allows for a new kind of freedom from the circulation desk. It is no longer a desk, it is a moving roving person who can search out people who need help and not have to walk back across the library to help them.
How would the library use change if students could check their own books out from their cell phones while roaming the stacks? I think this could increase patron satisfaction and usage. But what would the librarians have to do to stay relevant in a world where patrons don’t need us to check out their books? We would be free to run better participatory services and emerging technology workshops.