Mobile Technologies Landscape of the 21st Century Library

Many in the librarian profession are already familiar with College of DuPage distance education courses and classes. “College of DuPage, located in Glen Ellyn, IL, 22 miles west of Chicago, serves nearly 28,000 students each semester with over 100 academic and occupational programs. The College of DuPage Press, publisher of educational software, books and games, serves the national post-secondary markets with high quality instructional products and services.

College of DuPage Press is the DE arm that presents Library Learning Network information. Often their materials are available to the general public of librarians, and such is the case with this archived teleconference from September 24th, 2010 – “Libraries & the Mobile Technologies Landscape”, a part of CoD regular series Library Futures: Staying Ahead of the Curve 2011, an electronic forum of ideas, issues, information and opportunities for librarians.

This teleconference studio guest was Joe Murphy, Science Librarian, Coordinator of Instruction & Technology, Klein Science Library, Yale University. Joe Blogs, presents and consults about mobile technology, and he received the Library Journal 2009 “Movers & Shakers” Award. Joe was also co-presenter of the Keynote address at the recent Hand Held Librarian Online Conference III with his “Creating the Future of Mobile Library Services”.

Joe approached the topic as both expert and public library customer with needs for mobile library services. “Networked information is gearing itself toward that mobile technology. It is not a passing trend.”, he asserted. He also proposed that “mobile literacy” is an issue that is driving much of the demand for mobile library services. A video overview of his model of Mobile Literacy using the Prezi application was very impressive. Have you heard of “foursquare”? He has another interesting video overview/demonstration of it.

Generally, Joe gives a convincing presentation on the perceived demands and advantages of developing and using mobile technologies to provide library services. Unfortunately, I was left with that feeling one gets seeing a 5’6”, 300lb man at the beach wearing a Speedo – just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The technology is very impressive, but seems somehow “forced” if applied in every library situation, and maybe a bit self-serving (like the Speedo guy).

IMHO, not using mobile technologies to offer library services does not make a library less of a 21st Century Library. It is technology of which most librarians should gain a general understanding, and then use it as another tool to provide YOUR library customers with services THEY WILL USE. Just another example of how fundamental librarianship principles are still alive and applicable, but needing adaptation to the new 21st Century environment.

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