With the arrival of smart phones, phone became an integral part of our lives. Not only do we carry our phones with us wherever we go, but we are also using them for almost everything. We started using phone for voice communication exclusively, and now we are using it for playing games, watching movies, browsing the Internet, hanging out with friends on social networks, getting updated with the news, banking needs, and increasingly, as the first (and often only) step for looking up any information we need.
For the first time in history, libraries are serving people who have access to all the information they could ever want in the palm of their hand. Unlike the previous generation, which didn’t mind waiting to get their information when they got home, or the generations before that were patient enough to wait until they made it to the library, the mobile generation wants their information on the go.
There are hundreds of thousands of mobile applications for the iPhone and Android is not far behind. Xcube Labs Mobile App Development Firm came up with a very informative infographic to explain usage patterns of smart phone apps.
It is alarming however, that there are very few apps build for libraries and very few libraries that have mobile websites. Yet, it is obvious that if we are to remain in the information business, we have to be present in the media through which people are looking for information.
While fully mobile websites are complicated to build, some libraries we are using QR codes to bridge their physical and online collections. I am currently working on a project at my library where we use QR codes to point our patrons to online resources that replaced or duplicate our physical holdings. This is much less than building a mobile website, but by doing so we are helping our patrons to locate relevant online information quickly and are introducing QR technology to some of them. More about it in my next post…