25 ideas for using mobile apps in library services

25 ideas for using mobile apps in library services

In my online course, “Apps for Librarians,”⁠ one of the assignments is to participate in a brainstorming activity about this topic.

Librarians in my course are from many types of libraries (public, academic, school, and special), and this list is based on ideas they came up with.

25 Ideas

  1. Use iPads for story time using interactive picture book apps. Pair up caregivers and kids to read together or project the app on a big screen. Have events where teens read to the young kids with iPad apps.

  3. Introduce graphic novels both print and for mobile devices, do presentation about them with iPad and projector.

  5. Have an app share event – everyone shares apps that have been helpful to them. Librarians provide a list of apps to start with. Call this “Appy Hour.”

  7. Have classes for parents on the best apps for kids of different age levels.

  9. Hold info sessions on interactive book apps to show people what’s available.

  11. Host app clubs – like book clubs, but for apps.

  13. Create presentations for specific departments at your university about the best apps for their field.

  15. Create outreach programs for residents of nursing homes. Use content creation apps where seniors can tell their life story and interviews can be captured. Do presentations about specific times in history, using apps about the topic.

  17. Offer a session on apps for job-searching and networking.

  19. Have instruction and liaison librarians explore and review apps that are relevant to their departments and subject areas. Create a display (online or offline) with images, descriptions and links to the apps.

  21. The library itself (or a consortium of libraries) could become a publisher of local digital content using iBooks Author to create interactive books, or act as a host for self-published ebooks by their community members.

  23. Create local history apps that contain video interviews, maps and photos – everything about the history of the local community.

  25. Offer a collection of interactive book apps on iPads for loaning either inside the library, or as take-home devices.

  27. Collect and categorize the best reference apps and put them on the iPads used by reference librarians. Use these reference apps to answer questions.

  29. Purchase print books that can be used with specific apps (augmented reality books), and make the iPad, the app, and the book available together.

  31. Provide tablet stations where people can use tablets pre-loaded with excellent apps in different topic areas.

  33. Offer relevant apps in your “makerspace” – apps that help with 3D printing and design.

  35. Contribute app reviews to the professional literature. (See App Review Checklist, free PDF).

  37. Include apps in bibliographies along with other types of resources.

  39. Review apps in library-related blogs.

  41. Offer a program for young adults where teens come to record and edit their own movies. Use iPads and iPhones with the iMovie app for their recording and editing needs, instead of more expensive laptops and video cameras.

  43. Introduce the Scanbot app to genealogy society members who meet at the library as a way to scan their research treasures into their devices and reduce the amount of paper they have.

  45. Use the Kindle app or the Overdrive app for readers with dyslexia. These apps offer the OpenDyslexic font. According to opendyslexic.org, the font helps dyslexic readers distinguish letters and words for easier reading. Features include weighted bottoms for each letter to help indicate letter direction and wider letter spacing.

  47. Use a comic strip creation app with kids for a project to create their own comic strips. They can work alone or in groups to tell their stories. The activity promotes creativity, collaboration, and lets them come away with a digital comic strip that they can share with others.

  49. Offer a “Student Success Workshop” in order to introduce useful apps such as Dropbox, 1Password, Wunderlist, Evernote, and JotNot.  Also show examples of using Apple’s and Google’s apps for word processing and slide creation, for ease of creating required papers, presentations, and collaborative group work.

Do you have more ideas?

Share them by commenting on this post. Tell us what you’re doing with mobile apps in your library programs.

Want to learn more? Join the Apps for Librarians course!

Enhance your career – become an app expert for your community.

Is it safe to use a password manager to keep track of your passwords?

Is it safe to use a password manager to keep track of your passwords?

What is a password manager?

A password manager is an app that remembers your passwords, so you don’t have to. You only need to remember one master password for opening the app to get access to all of your saved passwords.

Most password manager apps also:

  • generate secure passwords (long, random ones that would be hard to remember, and hard to hack)
  • auto-fill them when you need to use them
  • synchronize your data between your desktop computers and mobile devices
  • securely store other information, such as credit cards, passports, addresses, wi-fi passwords, and more)

Some examples of password managers:

What if the password manager gets hacked?

Many people tell me that the reason they don’t use a password manager app is that they worry that it will get hacked and someone will then have access to ALL of their passwords.

That feels like a reasonable fear when you first think about it. But if you look into it a bit more, you’ll see why it’s a good idea to use one.

Trusting a password manager

I look at two sources of information when evaluating the safety of apps like these:

  • The app developer’s security documentation
  • What independent security experts have to say about this issue

How security works — 1Password example

Let’s use 1Password as an example. Here are some useful things to know about how it works, from their documentation.

If you’ve been imagining your master password floating around the Internet somewhere, vulnerable to being hacked, no wonder you’ve been worried. It stays only in your head (or wherever you write it down… and store in your home).

Security experts recommend using a password manager

Here is what security expert, Bruce Schneier says about using password managers in “Choosing Secure Passwords

“Even better is to use random unmemorable alphanumeric passwords (with symbols, if the site will allow them), and a password manager like Password Safe to create and store them”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends the use of a password manager on their page, “Creating Strong Passwords.” They also remind us why using the same password on multiple sites is a very bad practice.

Reusing passwords is an exceptionally bad security practice, because if an attacker gets hold of one password, she will often try using that password on various accounts belonging to the same person. If that person has reused the same password several times, the attacker will be able to access multiple accounts. That means a given password may be only as secure as the least secure service where it’s been used.

Why I like 1Password: convenience and security

I’ve been using 1Password for many years. I use it on my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Air. I’ve never had a problem with it, and it makes it possible to use long, random, secure passwords that I would never be able to remember without it. It’s great to have all that data with me on my iPhone, whenever I need it (fully encrypted and secure).

Learn to set up and use a password manager (and other useful apps for organizing your life)

In my course, Using Apps to Manage Information and Stay Organized, you’ll get step-by-step help with setting up 1Password, and other apps for managing the information in your personal and professional life. The course includes video demos, handouts, readings, and plenty of chances to ask questions.

With the knowledge from this course, you’ll be able to

  • Synchronize information securely between all your devices (mobile and desktop).
  • Generate secure passwords.
  • Automatically back up your smartphone’s photos.
  • Create to-do lists that are accessible from all your devices.
  • Go paperless if you wish, and make best use of your mobile devices.
  • Understand best practices for security and learn how to decide what levels of security make sense for different types of information.
  • Create your own app guides, offer workshops, and advise your users and colleagues on best practices for managing their information.

Learn more and sign up! (Begins September 5, 2017, and runs for five weeks).

New book: Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals

New book: Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals

Learn the best methods for keeping up (no matter what new technology is trending)

There are many books and articles written for librarians about specific emerging technologies, but it’s hard to find a comprehensive resource for the best methods for keeping up and integrating new technologies into library services. So that’s why I’ve written this book.

This handbook covers a wide variety of methods for gathering information about new technologies, evaluating them, setting up experiments to help you match technologies with user needs, and finally how to recommend the use of new technologies in library services. (more…)

Cyber Security and Privacy: July 6 webinar

Cyber Security and Privacy: July 6 webinar

If you read today’s headlines about security breaches, you might be thinking of going back to fax machines and snail mail. Or you might be assuming that privacy is dead and we may as well get used to it (and you have nothing to hide, right?)

While there is no such thing as foolproof security and privacy, there is a middle ground that you can find by understanding and using particular techniques.

Have you ever wondered about the following questions?

  • Is your laptop or smartphone’s traffic being harvested when on public wi-fi?
  • What’s the best thing to do if your device is lost or stolen?
  • (more…)

Best Podcasts for Diverse Audiences: ebook set

Best Podcasts for Diverse Audiences: ebook set

Best Podcasts for Diverse Audiences

Do you love podcasts? I do. There are so many new, fun, inspiring, educational, and diverse podcasts that it can be hard to find the best ones! I thoroughly enjoyed creating this ebook set — a guide to some excellent podcasts. You will enjoy adding many of these shows to your list of podcasts to listen to.

You can buy individual ebooks for $2.99 each, or get the whole set for $9.99 on Amazon ($14.99 on other ebook stores).

Best Podcasts

Available April 6 (and you can pre-order now)

They will be available on Amazon, Apple’s iBookstore, and other ebook sellers (EPUB & MOBI).

See the Best Podcasts Table of Contents.