Jeff Wisniewski of University of Pittsburg updated the crowd at NYPL’s “Engaging Communitities, Promoting Learning” conferenceon the current state of mobile, and encouraged them to consider the implications for libraries.  I adore Jeff – he is intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate, incredibly funny, and a fantastic speaker.  Plus – he’s just a great guy.  Here’s his main points, which every library needs to consider (and I know if I didn’t get things right, he’ll correct me!):

Jeff, Ruth Kneale (left) & Amy Buckland (right) at Internet Librarian 2011main points, which every library needs to consider (and I know if I didn't get things right, he'll correct me!):


  • mobile is moving beyond being a utility for connecting people to the library to being a place for integrating content into workflows and processes for people; this integration allows mobile to be a place in which people engage, innovate and build communities; apps no longer just allow libraries to contact people, but now to bring content alive for people
  • new superphones are merging tablets & phones with 5″ screens (imagine the possibilities for libraries)
  1. library users who prefer e-books are more “active library patrons” who visit the library more and read more books
  2. 23% of patrons couldn’t get e-books because of technical difficulty, and 44% couldn’t get e-book titles they wanted

Apps Libraries Need to Pay Attention to & Leap Frog From:

  • TeenBookFinder – produced by Young Adults ALA & to be available any day, is a location-aware app that allows personalization & sharing to Twitter & Facebook

Location-aware apps:

  • Buckeye Stroll; a tour app developed by Ohio State University Library, a “location-aware mobile application and web site developed by the OSU Libraries. Buckeye Stroll features a map view of more than 60 sites of interest on The Ohio State University campus, and a browse view for locating a known site by name. Each stop on the tour includes several historical photographs from the OSU Photo Archives, featuring highlights of the University”
  • North Carolina State University Library developed WolfWalk — both of these apps are examples of apps with which to do interesting things with unique content; how can libraries use apps to allow people to interact with unique content in different ways?

**patrons are deciding what’s a collection, not libraries**

  • Yelp is an app for augmented reality; take a photo of the street & the app pulls up the stores on the street, history, etc; how can a library use this type of app

From Dailymotion: “Learn how to find the best local restaurants using the Yelp app. We really like the augmented reality feature in Yelp’s app, which allows you to point your camera and reviews/ratings for different restaurants in that direction will pop up on your smartphone screen. Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 Phone and Palm Pre OS.”

  •, developed by San Jose Public Library, “a free new Smartphone enabled self-guided walking tour to give residents and tourists alike an interactive way to explore downtown San José and learn about the City’s history. The tour, called Scan Jose, was developed on a web application (app) made compatible for Smartphones. It showcases historic images from the collections of the San José Public Library’s California Room and the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History. Scan Jose directs walkers to a variety of downtown landmarks. At each stop, historic photos and information related to an event that once occurred at that location will appear on the web app. The images used in the web app date back as far as the mid 1800s……it places some of the rarest pieces of SJPL’s history collection right into users’ hands. Plus, it offers a fun and free new way for residents and visitors to get active, connect with technology, and explore the rich history of our city all at once,” said SJPL Director Jane Light.”

  • ShelvAR is an android app that scans library shelves to identify books that are out of order (talk about a better way to do shelf reading!); officially it is an app that “generates spine tags for books, read the tags using the ShelvAR app, and run reports against the data.”
  • Google Maps 6.0 (for Androids only) engages people in detailed floor plans with indoor navigation; claim your library before someone else does for this app!
  • an app for instructing on the iPad; it only supports 15 “passengers” on the training flight at a time, but imagine the flight for patrons &/or staff
  • is similar, and a bit more interactive for collaborating on ideas & teaching
  • Georgia State University Library uses ipads for “guerilla-style assessment”; they are equipped with survey software & the ability to compile data on the fly (read their article on this in Journal of Library Innovation)
  • Liaison librarians in many libraries have ipads to show & discuss content/images with patrons
  • mobile is also allowing libraries to liberate space; North Shore Public Library has replaced computers in its youth area with tablets
  • or use push-location triggering alerting; DOKLAB in the Netherland pushes welcome texts to patrons as they enter

ShelvAR: app for shelf-reading & inventory management