Pathways To Best Practice 5: Developing a mobile strategy for the library


Developing a robust yet flexible strategy to enable the library to support and embrace mobile technologies.

State of maturity

Early adopters – most libraries experimenting with one or two initiatives rather than implementing mobile as its own strategy or part of wider strategy.

Explanation of area

Many of the mobile technologies in libraries developments are experimental, involving disparate projects in specific areas, rather than an integrated approach. Although it is hoped that mobile will become integrated as a regular part of the library service, at present it is more likely to be treated separately (in the way that electronic resources were once treated as a separate thing but now are part of overall resource provision).

Due to the rapidly changing nature of mobile technologies, developing a mobile strategy is challenging. It is important for any strategy to be flexible enough to adapt depending on mobile technology developments and changes in mobile use by users.

Examples of work in area

Library Sector Country Overview of work Links/resources
University of Glasgow Higher Education UK Developing a strategy for the library of all activities relating to mobile technologies Library Mobile Strategy (see also University of Glasgow Library mobile strategy: a case study)
NCSU Higher Education USA Developing a strategy for mobile services for the library (e.g. mobile website) Library in your pocket: strategies and techniques for developing successful mobile services – Educause webinar

Lessons learned from work so far

  • Develop a strategy rather than a list of ideas
  • Remain flexible (agile) to allow for changes in innovations and technologies e.g use rapid development cycles.
  • Engage with staff and users to ensure that their needs are taken into account
  • Gain management support.
  • Consider what services you currently offer – which of these can be transferred to a mobile site and what tools (email, text links etc.) can be offered?

Key contacts

Kay Munro (University of Glasgow):

Useful links

Developing a mobile strategy for the library – Kay Munro and Rosemary Stenson’s workshop presentation from mobile technologies in libraries information sharing event.
Find out how NCSU Libraries built their mobile website – overview of the Educause webinar from NCSU, including practical tips and advice.
Mobile Learning at the University of Portsmouth – A look at how mobile learning will impact on the university and some key considerations when designing a mobile site.
Why library staff should be interested in mobile technologies – presentation on how mobile devices are being used in and around the library and the implications.

Updated: 23 August 2012 by Jo Alcock as part of JISC m-library community support project.

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