Today, 81 percent of students are using technology as their primary tool for studying. At first look, this is scary stuff for the average academic librarian. If students are turning away from books as a source of knowledge, it means the library as it was 20 years ago isn’t providing much value. Students today are learning in new ways, and they’re actually learning better. Research tells us 77 percent of students say using technology like tablets and their phones to supplement their studies has improved their grades. In order to move forward in your library’s goal of increasing student knowledge and engagement, it’s now necessary to join the mobile trend. Here’s how to get your library mobile:
Develop a mobile strategy.
At Mango, we often hear that mobile is an afterthought for all but the most cutting-edge libraries. But as we’ve seen, mobile can’t be an afterthought. In order to reach students and best affect their learning, libraries need to develop a strategy to engage with students on their tablets and in the cloud.
Come up with some distinct goals for your mobile offerings. Maybe by the end of the academic year, you want to have 40 percent of the student body logging into your online resources at least once a week. Or maybe you want to be able to connect your library offerings with academic departments by linking to related resources on class websites. Whatever your goal is, come up with the tactics you need to make progress toward it. Whether that’s promoting new online resources through a campus newsletter or making a free podcast for students to download and listen to on their way to the cafeteria, start making your library accessible to students on their mobile devices.
Lead with mobile.
As scary as it may feel, think of your library’s mobile offerings as equally important (or even more important!) than the physical space. While your library still offers an amazing space for work and study, you should still be able to reach students with schedules and learning styles that aren’t accommodated by an hour in your makerspace or reading room. Take advantage of their little black smartphones’ abilities to access all of your resources.
Maximize your existing resources for mobile. If you’re a Mango customer, you probably know students don’t need to go to your computer lab to use our product; they can simply download our free app and go to town learning Koine Greek wherever they are. Check what mobile abilities your other resources have, maximize them and promote them. Let students know they don’t need to even get out of their beds to take advantage of the world of learning you provide.
There’s no denying the mobile revolution is changing the way students learn. With mobile, students gain immediate access to a world of knowledge at the push of a button. Whether this fills you with optimism about the potential for learning or gives you flashbacks to the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey every time you see an iPhone, it’s time to get your library mobile to reach your students where they are.