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Reflections on Mobile Devices & Connections

Woman looking at tablet screen

This module made me think of this meme I saw a couple of years ago, especially on the Second Screen Sharing phenomenon (Stephens, 2019).  During the 2016 election, I remember scrolling through Facebook and texting friends while I watched results come in on my laptop.

The “other, smaller internet” is where people, especially students, are watching videos, checking social networks, and using instant messaging (Deloitte, 2016).  Additionally, younger adults, non-white, less-educated, and less-afluent individuals use mobile devices as their primary source for accesssing the internet (Stephens, 2015, p. 4).  People are walking around with these gadgets that allow them access to a world of information, and they want to find the information they’re seeking on their cellphones, through apps, messaging, or the web.  “Library collections need to be where the users are exploring” (Stephens, 2015, p. 5), and the users are exploring on their mobile devices, as demonstrated on the infographic below.

Whenever I am digesting loads of information about how libraries need to change, I appreciate specific questions that lead me to think about concrete, specific solutions.  Stephens (2015) offers a starting point in terms of bringing library services to users via mobile devices: how many of your processes require people to visit your location?  How many could be accomplished via the web or mobile technology? (p. 4).

To start, making the library mobile-friendly: can a user search for materials using the library’s website or an app?  Can the user experience be improved? Next, making access easy. Weinberger (2014) suggests that libraries need to make library resources more accessible for users through the development of APIs, linked data, and a “library graph”.  To be honest, I don’t really understand the Google Knowledge Graph that he talks about or how this stuff works. I know a bit about APIs having done some web design and coding using JSON and JavaScript. But I need to dive deeper to learn a little more about these other tools and how users want to find and use information.  And this deep-diving is necessary, if librarians are to deliver “easy-to-use, unique, and just-in-time services to the palm of a user’s hand” (Stephens, 2015, p. 8).


Deloitte (2016).How do today’s students use mobiles? [UK Study].

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

Stephens, M. (2019). Mobile Devices & Connections [Lecture]

Weinberger, D. (2014). Let the Future Go.

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