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.
  2.  

  3. Introduce graphic novels both print and for mobile devices, do presentation about them with iPad and projector.
  4.  

  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.”
  6.  

  7. Have classes for parents on the best apps for kids of different age levels.
  8.  

  9. Hold info sessions on interactive book apps to show people what’s available.
  10.  

  11. Host app clubs – like book clubs, but for apps.
  12.  

  13. Create presentations for specific departments at your university about the best apps for their field.
  14.  

  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.
  16.  

  17. Offer a session on apps for job-searching and networking.
  18.  

  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.
  20.  

  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.
  22.  

  23. Create local history apps that contain video interviews, maps and photos – everything about the history of the local community.
  24.  

  25. Offer a collection of interactive book apps on iPads for loaning either inside the library, or as take-home devices.
  26.  

  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.
  28.  

  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.
  30.  

  31. Provide tablet stations where people can use tablets pre-loaded with excellent apps in different topic areas.
  32.  

  33. Offer relevant apps in your “makerspace” – apps that help with 3D printing and design.
  34.  

  35. Contribute app reviews to the professional literature. (See App Review Checklist, free PDF).
  36.  

  37. Include apps in bibliographies along with other types of resources.
  38.  

  39. Review apps in library-related blogs.
  40.  

  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.
  42.  

  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.
  44.  

  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.
  46.  

  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.
  48.  

  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.
  50.  

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.

Join the Apps for Librarians course
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…)

Podcasts for diverse audiences

Podcasts for diverse audiences

Are there many podcasts by and for people other than white male techno-geeks?

That’s something I looked into when writing the report, “Podcast literacy: recommending the best educational, diverse, and accessible podcasts for library users” (coming in 2017 from ALA TechSource).

Maybe not…

According to Pew Research, “They’re more likely to be male, young, have higher incomes, be college graduates, live in an urban area.” (“Podcast’s biggest problem isn’t discovery, it’s diversity,” Wired, Aug. 31, 2015).

But wait…

But as of late 2016, there is some good news. Edison Research, a group that has been tracking demographics of podcast listeners for over a decade says, “…In the early days of the medium, podcasting was disproportionally a medium for white males, ages 25-44. … but today, the content universe for podcasts has exploded, and the diversity of programming available rivals any other form of audio.”

So how do you find podcasts for diverse audiences?

One place to look is the site of a podcast collective called Postloudness. Based in Chicago, it’s aiming to create a community of shows by women, people of color, and queer-identified hosts. Their goal is to bring more diversity to podcasting and help underrepresented voices create their own shows.

Get my report

Postloudness is a good place to start, but there are many more diverse podcasts available. In order to assist librarians with recommending podcasts for diverse audiences, I’ve complied lists in the following categories:

◆ produced or hosted by women
◆ racial and ethnic diversity (African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans)
◆ LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning)
◆ aging and ageism (elders’ & children’s rights)
◆ homelessness, poverty and economic class
◆ people who are (or were) incarcerated
◆ adult literacy
◆ neurodiversity and mental health issues
◆ physical disabilities

To get this annotated list of podcasts for diverse audiences, watch for my report from ALA Tech Source, available in 2017.

Learn more about what this report covers:
Podcast Literacy – table of contents


To be notified when the full report is available, sign up for my newsletter.

Mobile Apps News: stay current with mobile apps

Win a free book in my Goodreads giveaways

Win a free book in my Goodreads giveaways

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Apps for Librarians by Nicole Hennig

Apps for Librarians

by Nicole Hennig

Giveaway ends May 23, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Selecting and Evaluating the Best Mobile Apps for Library Ser... by Nicole Hennig

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads makes it easy for authors to give away free copies of their books in “giveaways” managed by Goodreads. I have 4 copies of Apps for Librarians, and 3 copies of Selecting and Evaluating the Best Mobile Apps for Library Services to give away.

The contest begins on Monday, May 16 and lasts for a week. On May 24 Goodreads will randomly pick the winners and I will ship your free copy (US only).

These are for print copies — Apps for Librarians is normally $45, and Selecting and Evaluating the Best Mobile Apps is normally $43.

Feel free to enter both giveaways!