Report on current m-library activity

The report based on the findings of the fact finding survey we ran at the end of last year is now available. You can view it embedded below (or in full screen mode using the bottom right icon), or you can visit the report on Slideshare to download a copy.


 

The executive summary gives an overview of the findings:

In order to gain a clearer overview of the current landscape with regards to mobile technology in libraries, Evidence Base undertook an online survey as part of the M-Library Community Support Project1. The survey was live from November 2011 until January 2012 and open to all. It was promoted on numerous library listservs, blogs and on Twitter.

There were 188 responses to the survey, primarily from the academic library sector (64%). The majority of respondents were from the UK (66%), with other responses from the USA (22%), Australia (6%), Canada (4%), Europe, Africa, Ireland, South America and Asia.

Many of the respondents’ libraries either already have m-library initiatives (63%) or are planning them in future (90%). Common uses at present included:

  • Mobile catalogue
  • Mobile website
  • QR codes
  • Supporting use of mobile services/apps
  • Mobile app for library
  • Institutional mobile app
  • Mobile devices to support roving reference/staff demonstrations
  • Loaning mobile devices
  • SMS communication about borrower record (due dates etc.)

Many commented that their library was interested in further developing their support for mobile technologies and are either in the planning stage at present or evaluating the potential that such developments could offer. There were also a number watching developments closely but adopting a wait and see approach.

Analysis of the survey highlighted the fact that at present there are a number of barriers and challenges facing libraries which are prohibiting or delaying implementation of m-library initiatives. Some of these are specific to individual institutions, whilst some are common across a number of libraries. The most common barriers/challenges were lack of technical support, not knowing enough about how to utilise mobile technologies, and it not being a priority for the library or wider organisation.

Respondents would like more information and case studies sharing experiences from libraries who have already implemented m-library initiatives, reviews and how to guidance, and a central hub for m-library information. Suggestions for an m-library community included a place to find and share experience and best practice, technical advice and support (including open source software support), and general help and guidance.

The information from the survey has informed the m-library community support project greatly; it has provided information for potential case studies and helped shape development of the community website. Ongoing consultation is an important element of the project; please subscribe to the m-library community mailing list to receive updates on how you can be involved.

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  1. M-Libraries « LibrarySnoozer
  2. Mobile technologies in libraries – end of project survey | m-libraries
  3. m-libraries | It's a Dangerous Business
  4. Mobile technologies in libraries – end of project survey | Evidence Base Blog

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