Thing 22: Mobile Things

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 Photo: Jarmoluk/Pixabay.com. Licence CC0 1.0

I thought I’d start my penultimate Rudai 23 task with a direct quote from Wayne Gibbon’s Thing 22 blog post:

The Office of Communications (OFCOM) recently described the United Kingdom as a “smartphone society”, where smartphones are now the most popular devices for going online, overtaking laptops which had been the most popular means up until 2014.

90% of people aged between 16 and 24 years  and 50% of people aged between 55 and 64 years own and use smartphones in the UK today.

These facts should be the starting point for mobile technology regarding how public library users engage in gaining their information. Using social media to promote library events through the facebook and twitter apps allow up to date information on events going on at the library to be promoted and although social media managers such as hootsuite assist in posting to all sites, this still takes time, so I can really see the potential of Beacons, allowing people passing on the off chance to be alerted to current events at the library such as story times and lunch time talks/concerts. If the beacon’s range extended just outside the library this might entice people in. It could also assist in alerting users, especially those incapacitated in some way, from making an unwanted journey, such as alerting users to bank holiday closures or the cancellation of a story time. This, would be very useful to users with a heavy child-laden buggy and would reduce the time getting the message ‘out’ through updating different social media status/updates and having to make/ put up physical posters in different locations over a large floor space! However, any additional signing up or tracking via a third party (in addition to joining the library) might put library users from engaging with the service. Beacons look like they will be the way forward and do offer public libraries a lot of potential – I am keen to see how these are utilised as part of the digital tools available to libraries over the forthcoming years.

I decided to see how the Gum app worked to complete the Option 1 task for Thing 22. I was interested to see what sort of comments had been left on the barcodes of the books at work: I downloaded the app and scanned a copy of Games of Thrones but sadly on this particular volume of the series no comments had been left, so I added my own:

gum1gum2 Photos: Knightystar. All Rights Reserved.

I can see that the Gum app could be used (if comments were deleted afterwards) as a useful way to offer library book reviews on books we stock/new books for users with this app – It could also be used on a temporary basis for putting ‘library trail’ clues onto books, especially if we are running a book ‘treasure hunt’ trail for National Libraries Day – it would certainly stop clues being ripped down! However, as there appears to be little to no moderation regarding types of comments left on the bar codes, it could be possible that unwanted comments are discovered, so this app, although promising, might require a certain a level of caution, so that comments seen are not seen as library-affiliated comments. I also wonder how long it will be until Goodreads have a similar app (maybe they do already?) allowing their reader to view reviews in a similar way. This would be a very useful tool for libraries when promoting book displays.

Mobile things, their longevity and how they all link together with other digital devices need to be considered in order to assist in creating a digital library strategy for vibrant, educational and enjoyable libraries of the future. It is for this reason that, having had a quick look, I can see how important 23 mobile things is – but I have a feeling we might be touching on this subject in the last (really? already!) podcast…

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