Reflection Blog #4: Mobile Devices & Connections

I was born in 1993, which I consider to be a unique place within our technological timeline. I recall using the landline, patiently waiting for dialup, and communicating via AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). But I also fondly remember receiving a magenta Motorola Razr for Hanukkah in eighth grade, noticing the increase of wireless hotspot availability throughout the years, and transitioning from general text messaging to iMessaging. As time presses on—and as I enter the field of Library and Information Science—I’m becoming much more grateful for the era in which I was born, as I’m able to assist people from varying technological backgrounds and levels of comfortability. I can easily relate to and help those who feel overwhelmed by the introduction of new technologies, but I can also experience excitement with—and offer additional support to—someone who is mastering a complex computing project. I’m optimistic that my friendly and relatable approach to the mobile-driven aspects of librarianship will be compatible when helping patrons and will aid me in convincing library stakeholders to invest in ensuring highly accessible, mobile-friendly library platforms.

Much like Dr. Stephens and the other authors featured throughout Module 10: Mobile Devices and Connections, I’m fascinated by the seemingly limitless nature of mobile technologies, especially when considering the bartender in South Carolina’s all-encompassing statement: “I have everything I need here: I have my web, I have my e-mail, I have my text, I have my video, and I have my music: I have the world of information in my hand” (Stephens, 2016, p. 44). As a soon-to-be librarian, I’m inspired to help libraries create mobile-friendly services and applications that engage patrons beyond the standard, quintessential library experience of checking out books and requesting reference services. My primary focus will be connectivity beyond the books, as inspired by the past three weeks of isolation:

During the past few weeks of California’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, I’ve spent a shameful amount of time on my mobile device, especially with what Stephens’s (2015) “Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries” refers to as, “‘me time,’ or accessing relaxing or entertaining content that will help to pass the time,” and, in conjunction, have dedicated hours considering its relation to my studies of Library and Information Science (2015, p. 4). I’ve spent hours connecting with loved ones on my iPhone as a form of escapism and can’t help but think of how a post-COVID-19 era of mobile phone services in—and outside of—libraries might be inspired to create similarly captivating applications. Perhaps, for example, libraries will consider testing mobile-based book clubs that patrons can access from anywhere and at anytime. An application that enables patrons to connect with others who enjoy reading similar genres or authors could prove to help community members establish connections, and, potentially, life-long friendships with those who share similar values. After being paired with others who share similar reading preferences, various chatrooms/forums could be established for asynchronous discussions that correspond with each book. Regardless of how much patrons choose to interact with others, the mobile book club could offer a new way for patrons to connect with their libraries and fellow community members.

References

Stephens, M. (2016). Mobile at the library. In The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change (pp. 43-48). Chicago: ALA Editions.

Stephens, M. (2015). Serving the user when and where they are: Hyperlinked Libraries. Retrieved from https://tametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Stephens_ServingtheUser_HyperlinkedLibraries.pdf

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3 thoughts on “Reflection Blog #4: Mobile Devices & Connections

  1. Dear Eleanor,

    I enjoyed your posting regarding mobile devices. I was recalling the “new” flip phone Razors too as I read. For me, I was a new high school teacher, and it was humorously, blatantly obvious when students were pretending to stare at the whiteboard while I taught, but texting under their desks by number. The number texting was handy if you wanted to secretly make messages…I was amazed at how quickly teenagers figured out number texting. It goes to show our adaptability in technology. As we all adapt to new technology through our lives, as you have mentioned, I do think our learning curves and experiences in facing what is new will help us empathize with future patrons, also trying to adapt.

    I also was thinking while reading your blog about the irony in how our mobile devices are helping us keep human connections alive. When we can easily find the negative consequences of mobile binging, in this time of the pandemic, the mobile devices are our social (and emotional!) life lines. I can’t even imagine the sadness my parents would experience if they couldn’t communicate with my daughter, their granddaughter, and vice-versa. I think of the same kinds of important connections that everyone needs, single-people, young people, families, and the like.

    I hope you continue your openness to service in the face of new technology for those who are trying to learn!

    Take care,

    Katie

    • Hi, Katie!

      Thank you for commenting. The pandemic is most definitely prompting all of us to reconsider how we view and utilize our mobile devices–for better and/or for worse. I’m also amused to hear about your perspective as a high school teacher. If it makes you feel any better, please know that, as a student, I, too, thought it was painfully obvious when others would text in class! But, at least they were trying to seem respectful. I did some high school English classroom observations in 2018 and was beyond disheartened to see the blatant lack of respect for the teachers. Students were holding phones inches away from their faces in the middle of class–totally crazy. It was enough to scare me away from the profession entirely. Anyways, thanks again for commenting and the well wishes on continuing to be open.

      I hope you and your loved ones are doing well throughout all of the COVID-19 madness. Stay safe!

      All the best,
      Eleanor

  2. Yay for “Me time” – and it is especially helpful these days. My me time consists of an hour or so with Buddy and the TV on whilst I scroll around and check in on FB and Instagram.

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