Is Your Library Mobile-Friendly?

Ever wonder what people are looking at on their smartphones as they walk down the street or wait at stoplights?

It’s probably not their library or information center.

That’s the conclusion reached by Britt Mueller and Cindy Shamel, who visited 40 academic and public library websites last year and interviewed several professionals involved in mobile access initiatives. They wanted to determine the extent to which libraries are offering mobile access to their services and content and the approaches they are taking in this area. What they learned from their research was, well, not encouraging.

“We found that libraries are trying to address mobile access at some level, but it appears that mobile initiatives are not generally a priority; instead, they are somewhat of a single checkbox or one-off offer that is only minimally promoted,” they wrote in the January-February issue of Information Outlook. “In some cases, libraries are acting in the dark, without sufficient insight into what mobile expectations or solutions their users really want or need.”

Britt and Cindy presented their findings in a contributed paper session at the SLA 2016 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. They summarized their paper in the January-February issue, outlining their research findings and also revealing some options and opportunities for improvement.

“Our research found that even when mobile apps and solutions were offered, they were not publicized,” they wrote. “A strategy as simple as prioritizing attention to mobile solutions can go a long way to make mobile capabilities more visible and coordinated for our end users. Making sure that mobile access is always considered and leveraged as a benchmark of success in library efforts can bring mobile efforts to the front of librarians’ strategic thinking.”

To learn more about actions and best practices you can implement to make your library more mobile-friendly, read the article.

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