Last year I started speculating about a library mobile development lab at Virginia Tech, but I never fully developed the idea. Now happens to be a good time to communicate this idea to some of my colleagues in the library, and at other libraries, so I’m publishing some of my thoughts and will continue to revise them as things happen.
According to an April 2015 report from the Pew Research Center, 64% of all adults, and 85% of adults between the ages of 18-29 own a smartphone. In April 2014, analytics provider Flurry reported that the average U.S. consumer spent 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on a mobile device, including 2 hours and 19 minutes using apps. Banks, retail outlets, and towns have joined other organizations in developing and releasing mobile applications.
The popularity of smartphones among the typical college-aged population has created a demand for high-quality, native smartphone apps that provide access to educational resources and library services.
The lack of a centralized campus authority to provide I.T. services beyond basic network infrastructure, security, and mass software licensing needs has created an opportunity for the library to develop its own innovative mobile applications.
In addition, the status of the new library as the center of campus collaboration will allow the library to take a leadership role in helping other educators at the university to create learning technology tools that appeal to today’s device-wielding populace.