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Blog #5 – Mobile devices and Connections

Mobile devices and Connections

As a Community Technology Specialist, one of the main responsibilities of my job is to help patrons with technology questions. In the past year, I noticed that about 80% percent of the questions I answer are about mobile devices. In the article by Kristine Lu Growth in mobile news use driven by older adult, states that “more than eight-in-ten U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device (85%), compared with 72% just a year ago and slightly more than half in 2013 (54%).” Lu, K. (2017). I believe that this trend is going to continue to increase over time because as more people get comfortable with using mobile technologies. Libraries need to embrace the mobile technology community and create content that caters to their needs.

Libraries put a lot of effort and resources into creating physical programming, however, there is not enough thought placed towards the virtual space. In the article by Michel Stephens Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries, he says “The hyperlinked library model flourishes in both physical and virtual spaces by offering collections, activities, training, and events that actively transform spectators into participants.” Stephens, M. (2015). The person-to-person method of engaging patrons still works but if libraries want to grow their audience they need to move into the virtual space. Libraries need to innovate in order to serve the user when they need help and where they need the service.

Its time for libraries to start thinking of custom made virtual programming and interactive apps with newsfeed to engage users. In connection, libraries need to rethink the role of the librarian and hire new staff accordingly. There continues to be a major gap with the staff and knowledge with technology. As technology advances and patrons seek to social distance due to changes in the world, libraries will need to adapt quickly and pivot their hiring strategies. It will no longer be enough to have one technology expert per library, instead, there will need to have teams that can support the demand and changes. Technology and innovation move fast and libraries should too if they want to better serve their communities. 


Lu, K. (2017). Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults. Retrieve

Stephens, M. (2015).Serving users when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries. Retrieve https://tametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Stephens_ServingtheUser_HyperlinkedLibraries.pdf

Emerging Technology – Technology Mobile

Introduction of technology services

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

There is a trend in libraries in the US and around the world about building maker spaces. Maker spaces allow patrons to tinker with immerging technologies like 3D printing, Laser cutters, VR systems and other traditional technologies like sewing machines. I work at the San Mateo County Libraries (SMCL) and they are expanding the maker spaces throughout the library system. Currently, one library has a maker space but more are being built in the next two to three years throughout the SMCL system. Eventually, all of the libraries in the (SMCL) system will have a maker space. Maker spaces are a great service that is provided to patrons, but they don’t go far enough to cover the community technology needs. “Smartphone ownership rates skyrocket in many emerging economies, but the digital divide remains.” Poushter, J. (2016). I suggest expanding services by implementing a Technology Mobile that will be able to help those who are falling behind on technology skills and do community outreach.

3D printed hearts -Ismael Betancourt

As a Community Technology Specialist, my primary job is to help patrons learn how to use the technology offered in the library. Often I’m asked how come technology services are not offered outside the library? Specifically, one patron mentioned that she and her church group would benefit from these classes but they can’t attend due to transportation issues. Another patron commented that her middle school Girls Scout group would love to do projects with the 3D printer but it’s difficult for them to come to the library. “I believe public libraries should move away from being ‘houses of knowledge’ and move more towards being ‘houses of access,” Zickuhr, K. (2014). Having a Technology Mobile as part of the SMCL system would be a great benefit to the community and for the libraries. It would bridge the technology divide that many patrons face and the libraries can continue to expand services to those in need.

Purpose and Benefits

The suggestions by patrons mentioned above are only of few on many that I have encountered over the last year. A Technology Mobile will solve two the of libraries’ main issues; reaching patrons outside the library and providing patrons with technology access. The Technology Mobile will allow the libraries to bring technology services to patrons who don’t have transportation and/or may have other barriers that prevent them from going to the library. 

The Technology Mobile will also provide libraries with a great tool to partner with other intuitions. “Partnerships, Østergård noted, are a cornerstone for keeping Dokk1’s vibrancy going.” Stephens, M. (2016). The libraries could partner with schools in low-income communities to provide STEAM maker programs after school and/or they could form partnerships with senior centers, parks, and recreation departments or attend community-sponsored events. 

Photo by Blaz Erzetic on Unsplash

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

Facilitate the use of the library’s technology equipment to members of the community who are not able to go to the library.

Provide one-on-one technology help to patrons who are falling behind technology advances.

Encourage participation and innovation with technology clinics.

Promote STEAM programming in low-income communities.

Increase the visibility of non-traditional library services such as Wifi hot spots, laptops computers, iPads, and GoPros.

Support county and community initiatives like sustainability.

Facilitate conversations and community collaboration with technology classes.

Demonstrate the value of the library by providing patrons with technology tools that will help them in their daily lives.

Description of the community you wish to engage: Technology Mobile will mostly target patrons over 55 years old, elementary, and middle school students. We want to engage community members who have difficulties getting to the library and those who are not regular library users.

Action Brief Statement:

For administration: The admiration in the SMCL system welcomes new ideas and encourages staff members to innovate on how to better serve our communities.

I will present the Technology Mobile as an opportunity to fulfill a need that is in our community. I will also present the benefits of doing targeting outreach.

For Patrons: Patrons will have access to services without having to travel to the library. They will get programming services that will enhance their technical skills and close the digital divide that exists in the community.

For Staff: The SMCL system already has a team of technology specialists that work at each branch. Most of the staff are already trained and capable of teaching patrons the technology that the libraries provide. The impact on the staff will be minimal because the Technology Mobile can be staffed with three staff members.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or services:

Stephens, M. (2015).Serving users when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries.

Pew Internet & American Life (2016). Adults with tech-access tools are more likely to be lifelong learners and rely on the internet to pursue knowledge.

Horrigan, J. B. (2016). Lifelong learning and technology.

Lu, K. (2017) Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults.

Poushter, J. (2016). Smartphone ownership

Stephens, M. (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment.

Schwab, K. (2019). The library of the future is an 80 year-old converted train shed.

IFLA. (2015). Responding! Public Libraries and Refugees.

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

The library administration will be involved in setting policies and guidelines for the Technology Mobile. The Technology Mobile must follow the guidelines and policies set by the San Mateo County Libraries systems. Public Computers, Devices, and Internet Access Policy. https://smcl.org/policies/public-computers-devices-and-internet-access-policy/ 

Terms of use: https://smcl.bibliocommons.com/info/terms?_ga=2.88406939.1894779532.1583648539-961067330.1571030522 

Public Computers and Devices

 It is illegal to physically or electronically modify library computer equipment or other devices, or tamper with hardware or software, as established in the California Penal Code, Section 502 et. Seq. 


Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

The proposal will require one-time additional funding to purchase the vehicle and update some technology equipment. The library perhaps can use the one-time grants from the State of California to start the program.

However, it will not require more funding to train staff because there is already a system in place to give additional tech training to the staff. The program can start as a pilot program where the Technology Mobile is only used on special community events. 

Action Steps & Timeline:

If the library administration approves the project all of the library departments will need to work together to make the project a reality. However, if the project is not approved then the project can be revised and purchase a smaller car with less technology equipment. A smaller vehicle will require fewer staff and will be more cost-efficient to operate.

Assuming that the project is approved the way was originally intended, the timeline would be between one to two years depending on how fast we can get a company to start working on customizing the vehicle. 

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

The libraries already have staff members train in technology it would only be a matter of recruiting the right staff members within the library system work on this project. However, since the staff is required to be out in the community it will be required a rotating system to minimize that impact within the libraries. 

The Technology Mobile can rotate libraries every month to allow all the libraries to pilot the program in their communities. The project can be implemented with one full-time and a part-time staff member. If the program is successful the number of staff members can be increased in the future based on need.

Training for this Technology or Service:

The training of the staff would not be difficult because of most of the staff its use to helping patrons with technology questions. If more specific training it’s required we have a team in place to provide additional training. It would only take about a month for the staff to be trained to get out in the community helping patrons.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

The county has many ways in which it can promote The Technology Mobile. It can wrap the vehicle with the SMCL logo and promote the new service in the SMCL website. The promotional information can also be included in blogs and/or tag other organizations on social media. Partnering with schools and community businesses will also help give visibility to the new service. Furthermore, the service can be promoted in libraries events by making announcements and by placing signage at the front desk and door entrances of all SMCL branch locations. 

Evaluation: Evaluation criteria will include:

· The number of patrons help each time the Technology Mobile is out in the community (this will help determine the number of staff need it each event)

· Patron satisfaction (this will be measured with surveys and patrons verbal communication)

· Feedback from staff members (this will be determined if additional training is needed)

It would not take long for the Technology Mobile program to be a success because patrons in San Mateo County are used to getting services from the Book Mobile.

The Technology Mobile will be a great addition to the many services already provided and it would not take long for patrons to get familiar with its services.

In the article by John B. Horrigan Libraries at the crossroads, we can get an idea of how patrons feel about technology and libraries. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, “ 78% of those 16 and older say libraries should “definitely” offer programs to teach people how to use digital tools such as computers, smartphones, and apps.” Horrigan, J.B. (2015). 

This program will be evaluated based on how many patrons we reach per event and how many technology items patrons checkout per month. 

If the program is successful we can buy one or two more Technology Mobiles so we can serve multiple communities at the same time. By creating these types of services, libraries will extend their reach in the community and will gain the community’s trust by providing services and access where it is needed the most.


Poushter, J. (2016). Smartphone ownership. Retrieve from http://s1.pulso.cl/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2258581.pdf

Scml.org (2020) Retrieved from https://smcl.org/

Stephens, M. (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Retrieve from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=dream-explore-experiment-office-hours

Horrigan, J.B. (2015). Libraries at the crossroads. Retrieve from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/09/15/libraries-at-the-crossroads/

Zickuhr, K. (2014). Public libraries and technology: From ‘houses of knowledge’ to ‘houses of access.’ Retrieve from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/07/09/public-libraries-and-technology-from-houses-of-knowledge-to-houses-of-access/

Blog # 4

Global Communities and Global Librarianship

For this week’s readings, I chose the module on Global Communities and Global Librarianship. I wanted to explore what other libraries around the world are doing to serve underprivileged communities. I will be discussing four articles, Responding! Public Libraries and Refugees by IFLA. (2015), Helsinki Central Library Oodi Chosen as the best new public library in the world by Oodi (2019), The library of the future is an 80-year-old converted train shed by Schwab, k. (2019), and Dream. Explore. Experiment by Stephens, M. (2016). These articles highlight how libraries are thinking about immigrant communities, space and books, architecture, historic buildings, and partnerships. 

How are libraries around the world coming up with solutions to help immigrants that are coming into there spaces? Libraries in major cities throughout Germany are rethinking what kind of documents to ask patrons to obtain a library card. “The Association of Public Libraries in Berlin (VÖBB) is the first German Library Association which provides library cards to refugees without demanding an official certificate of registration.” IFLA. (2015). This is one of the most important steps that a library can take to help underprivileged communities. The libraries are cutting through red tape and opening their doors to anyone who wants to use the services.

International Libraries are also thinking about space flow and architectural beauty. The “Helsinki Central Library Oodi was chosen as the best new public library in the world” in 2019. Oodi (2019). The library was designed together with customers and received more than 2,000 ideas on how the library should look and function. By allowing the community to give their input on the architectural design “the customers immediately made Oodi their own.” Oodi (2019). The Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara said, “The Public Library of the Year award tells us that the world has also taken notice of this.” Further, community members are more likely to be long-term library users if they are part of the process and their ideas are taking into account.

In addition, international libraries are designing buildings with a historic perspective and with a third space in mind. The “LocHall,” library “short for Locomotive Hall,” “it’s an example not only of adaptive reuse at its finest, but also a “third space” outside of home or work that mixes events, exhibitions, and learning.” Schwab, K. (2019). The library was built in an 80-year-old locomotive storage warehouse with 58,000 square-foot of space. Here patrons can learn new food skills, read books, hold or attend events. Schwab, K. (2019). The idea of the third space is something very interesting because communities are beginning to use the library as a gathering place.

Photo: Stijn Bollaert/courtesy Civic Architects

How are international libraries have been able to transform themselves into a vibrant part of the community? Libraries are doing this by forming partnerships with cities, institutions, and businesses. Dokk1, the public library in Aarhus, Denmark, was designed with people in mind not books. Stephens, M. (2016). By rethinking the way buildings are being built and partnering with community members, libraries are becoming a third space for the community. “Partnerships, Østergård noted, are a cornerstone for keeping Dokk1’s vibrancy going.” Stephens, M. (2016). Overall, libraries must collaborate with their communities and cultivate partnerships to bring in patrons, seek inspiration and feedback to create a third space where all patrons can gather and partake in library events and programs.


IFLA. (2015).  Responding! Public Libraries and Refugees. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/public-libraries/publications/library-service-to-refugees.pdf

Oodi (2019). Helsinki Central Library Oodi chosen as the best new public library in the world. Retrieved from https://www.oodihelsinki.fi/en/helsinki-central-library-oodi-chosen-as-the-best-new-public-library-in-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR1s8tUj7PoFGt27m4JMfpzPtjdSTAEopK_sqU7FcviZWxOe4AMXurKmjM0

Schwab, K. (2019). The library of the future is an 80 year-old converted train shed. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90316219/the-library-of-the-future-is-in-an-80-year-old-converted-train-shed?fbclid=IwAR17fZ3TDaYY2n-fQEvpGJLrXw8ft-ZoxoX4VO7CbXno6eKEz0xCRrBzA2Q

Stephens, M. (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=dream-explore-experiment-office-hours

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