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.

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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…)

Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals

Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals

I’ve just submitted the manuscript for my next book, Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals. It will be published by Libraries Unlimited in 2017.

Methods, not specific technologies

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.

Using new technologies to make a positive difference in the lives of your users

The good news is that it is possible to deal with the information deluge without feeling constantly overwhelmed. In my 14 years working at the MIT Libraries (first as web manager/usability specialist, then as head of the user experience department) I had a chance to try out many different methods and techniques, and to benefit from the ideas of experts outside of our field. In this book I’ve brought together all of the most useful methods (tried and tested), in order to make this information easy to use in your library.

When you have a plan and a set of methods like these, you can design library programs and services that make a strong positive difference in the lives of your users. And you can keep up with the fast changing world of new technologies.

Who is it for?

  • librarians
  • educators
  • educational technology specialists
  • those with “emerging technologies” in their job titles
  • those who manage these positions and need to write job descriptions for them
  • library school students who want to follow this career path
  • those who are designing curriculum for this career choice.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

1. Introduction

  • Why this book?
  • Visionaries and implementers: two roles for this work
  • Challenges for libraries: technology staffing

2. Gathering information: sources and strategies

  • Introduction
  • Skimming and scanning
  • Newsletters, feeds, & groups
  • Multimedia resources: video, audio, and courses
  • Conferences and local events
  • Trend reports
  • Books
  • Popular culture and science fiction
  • Dealing with information overload

3. Gathering information: more strategies

  • Look outside your field or discipline
  • Categories of technologies
  • How far out to look
  • Visionaries and implementers – strategies for each

4. Gathering information: user needs

  • UX: User Experience
  • Types of user research
  • Examples

5. Inclusion, Ethics, and The Digital Divide

  • Following ethical debates
  • Diversity
  • Accessibility
  • The Digital Divide
  • Summary

6. Evaluating – On Your Own

  • Introduction
  • Letting ideas percolate
  • Note-taking
  • Curating information for others
  • Trends vs. fads
  • Summary

7. Evaluating – With Your Team

  • Hands-on play
  • Designing experiments and evaluating the results
  • Developing criteria
  • Project methods: design thinking
  • Project methods: agile, and “the lean startup”
  • Ideation methods
  • Summary

8. Moving Towards Implementation

  • Presenting to and persuading decision-makers
  • Passing on projects to implementers

9. Emerging Technologies Librarians – Defining Job Roles

  • Current job descriptions
  • Defining this type of position for your organization
  • What to do if you are a very small organization
  • Diversity and “performance-based job descriptions”
  • Template for your job description

10. Epilogue

  • Summary and conclusion

11. Resource Guide

  • Bibliography: books, blogs, articles, websites
  • Guide to mobile apps for keeping up with emerging technologies

Please spread the word by sharing this post, thanks!

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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.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

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

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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!