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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. 

Reference:

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


8 Comments

  1. Nicely written! I think technology has proven in these last few weeks just how important and necessary it is in our daily lives. With COVID-19 shutting everything down, having the ability to access virtual resources is really the only way anyone is getting information (unless of course they have a home library). Now would be the time for libraries to push those online resources and activities, to keep the communities engaged. It will be interesting to see how libraries develop in the coming years.

    • @kvaldez5, I have always been a big fan of technology but it needs to work for everyone. Libraries are one of the last institutions left that make an effort to close the digital divide. I am excited and hopeful to see how libraries change in the upcoming years.

      Thank for your comment.

  2. Hello Ismael,

    It is so true that we keep seeing a continuous growth with usage of mobile devices or ipads. Younger students (from what I have observed) are ones that ask how to print from a mobile device in comparison to our older students. This can also be because we have a little over 60% of students who are in the age range of 17-22. This just indicated how librarians and library staff continuously need to get trained on how to navigate app’s. Great post!

    • @rosaconrad I agree with you. Young people are using technology more than adults but it seems to be a drop off once they hit a certain age. We need to keep them in gage through their adult life if we want to close the digital divide. If we don’t do that we are just repeating the same cycle.

      Thank your comment.

  3. Dear Ismael,

    I appreciate your blog posting as a Community Technology Specialist. In so many ways, the pandemic has created a new appreciation for Mobile Devices, and in some ways it finally proves the urgency and information needs that require emerging technology to be integrated in our communities.

    I agree whole-heartedly with your concluding sentiment that one position will not solve the technology needs of library users. Teams, as you suggest, are needed, expanding personnel, and considering how each aspect of library services need to implement technological advances so that our mobile devices keep access alive, in pandemic or in health. It is not just the “wave” of the future, it is the reality of the future. Thanks for confirming this important sentiment!

    Take care,
    Katie

    • @narrability It’s nice to meet another Community Technology Specialist. Since I wrote this post, my library system has starter creating technology teams to improve our technology presence in the community. Its been very nice to see how fast, everyone, is getting a train on technology tools. I agree with you ‘it is not just the “wave” of the future, it is the reality of the future’. We can see that today more than ever. We are no restricted by the four walls of a building the librarians of today and the future will be everywhere there is a need in our communities.

      Thank you for your comment.

  4. Your bid for library “custom made virtual programming and interactive apps” is right on.

    Perhaps the pandemic will accelerate movement toward library offerings in this direction.

    My county library system website changed almost overnight. The Home Page now says: “Your Library at Home” as the main heading. One little box says: “What’s your stay-at-home score over the last 24 hours” and lists 12 things such as: “changed out of your pajamas, read/listened to a book, checked in on someone, cleaned something, used a library resource, supported local business”. This is not my old library website.

  5. @kathleenerickson you are right on with this comment. “perhaps the pandemic will accelerate movement toward library offerings in this direction”. Libraries were trying to move towards more digital programming but they were still in a transition mode. This pandemic has completely changed the course of library services. In the library system where I work, we are rethinking services and how libraries can better serve our communities. Libraries will change for the better and maybe in the future, all libraries will offer free food, clothes, phones, mobile devices, and safe online spaces for patrons to meet.

    Thank you for your comment.

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