I recently came across this interesting piece of research which looked at Israeli librarians’ perceptions of technological innovations within the context of their line of work. In particular, Noa Aharnoy considered how gender, age, workplace, role and smart phone use affect librarians’ ideas about mobile library services.
Aharnoy utilised the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) for her study and focused in particular on the two variables of “perceived usefulness” and “perceived ease of use”. She also brought in two additional variables: personal innovativeness and smart phone usage.
800 librarians from the academic, public and special libraries sector were asked to fill in a personal details questionnaire and a mobile technology questionnaire. 153 responses were filed.
Unsurprisingly, the results of the study indicate that the more respondents use smart phones, and the higher they perceive themselves as innovative, the higher their motivation to use smart technologies (Aharnoy, 2013: 365). At the same time, it was interesting to see that participants did not perceive their age and gender as having any effect on them using technology, or their propensity to use technology in the future. This is explained by the fact that mobile library services are quite new and are relatively easy to use.
The question of embracing mobile technology is not one of personal choice. The reality is that large chunks of today’s academic library materials reside in the digital world. It’s also evident that mobile device use and their use for information seeking among students is popular and on the increase (see 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries). Consequently, libraries have a responsibility to get on with this fact and fill the needs-gap for a mobile library website that offers what students require when they’re on the go (or on the couch). A basic setup should consider library location, collection search functions, opening hours and contact details.
A good starting point is the libsuccess Wiki on M-libraries, which includes a link to 7 tools to create a mobile library website. A more sophisticated approach is minlo.