Last week I presented a session about mobile technologies at the Australian School Llibrary Association 2011 Conference – worldwide trends, what is happening in university libraries and public libraries, and what school libraries are and should be doing. In May I attended the M-Technologies conference here in Brisbane, and became aware of just how fast the uptake of mobile technology is worldwide, and how we need to be placing our libraries in the information streams of our users in order to remain accessible and relevant.
According to Matt Murphy and Mary Meeker (Top Mobile Internet Trends) we are seeing the “early innings of a massive phenomenon.” Already there are 425,000 iPhone apps available, 40% of all tweets are from mobile devices, and there are 200 million mobile Facebook users. Libraries can now no longer wait for patrons to come to them but need to reach out to their patrons in new and relevant ways. How many smartphone apps do you recommend to your students? Does your library have a Twitter account? How about a Facebook account? Do you use QR codes in your library?
Joyce Valenza aptly challenges us all by saying, “If you call yourself an information professional, you have to be a professional in the information landscape of your time.”
So what should school libraries be doing?
•Recommend educational and research apps
•Recommend ereaders, ebooks and audiobooks
•Allow students to search the catalogue
•Use QR codes to take users to instructional podcasts and videos
•Develop an ‘Ask a Librarian’ service
•Promote citation creation
•Promote database access
•Use Twitter and Facebook for marketing
•Use SMS alerts for marketing