Monday, March 28, 2011


Here is a summary of what I learned in the rest of the Handheld Librarian sessions.

The popularity of smart phones & tablets has changed patrons' expectations of the library. Mobile information seeking is quick --"info-snacking". Many patrons text on their phones, so some libraries have instituted SMS reference--it's easier than email, but more private for embarrassing questions or if the patron is afraid of feeling stupid for asking. Patrons expect web sites to be mobile-friendly. They like to search using what's in their pocket rather than walking to their computer even if it's harder to search on the mobile device.

Top trends:

  • Location-based services: They can promote the library as a fun thing to do. The problem is what to give as incentives to check-in--an extra hour of internet? Take off fines? Patron gets to choose a book display theme?
  • QR Codes--Can be used for library tours--to publicized databases and online resources that relate to a call number area--can put on a flyer and it links to your web site--can have one next to the bibliographic record in the catalog so it sends the call number to the patron's phone.
  • Augmented reality--Can be used for a historical tour of a neighborhood--can translate signs into other languages--in the future, we might us it to show how to do something or use something when you point your device at it (the technology's not quite there yet).

Recommended apps for librarians:


The patron has to inform the applications where they are located in order to use them, so privacy is an issue. Use of mobile services could widen the digital divide when patrons without smart phones are unable to access information. QR codes and augmented reality require an always-on Internet connection. Libraries may have policies that discourage phone use.

All the individual webinars are archived here (requires latest version of Flash).

--Andrea @C

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