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COMPUTERS IN LIBRARIES news desk » news desk by michael baumann news • announcements • updates ALA Report: Libraries Confront Mobile Future Words of Wisdom “There’s an App for That! Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations,” an American Library Association (ALA) policy TWITTER IS LIKE A brief released in June, highlights the need for librarians to make their catalogs available to users on the internet as well as mobile devices. The report was au- TRAGICALLY HIP NEW YORK thored by Timothy Vollmer, an open policy fellow at Creative Commons and con- sultant to the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). NIGHT CLUB. IT IS A COOL, Adapting library technology to mobile markets is paramount. As of 2009, there were 4.6 billion active cellular subscriptions in the world and 250 million wire- less data-capable devices in use in the U.S. Both of those numbers are expected EASY WAY FOR COMPANIES to increase in the coming years. So how are libraries adapting? “It’s going so-so, I think,” Vollmer says. “A lot of libraries just don’t have the TO ENGAGE CUSTOMERS IN resources. I think something that we’ve found … was that libraries want to pro- vide these services. They want to provide ebooks. They want to loan ebook read- SOCIAL MEDIA. BUT THE ers. But right now, we’re still in a very experimental phase.” Vollmer says libraries are at odds with digital publishers over the legal right EXPERIENCE CAN BE LOUD to loan ebooks. Licensing for ebooks is generally designed for a single user, and with libraries standing to loan ebooks for free, the publishers have little incen- AND CROWDED. tive to change. Even so, the report cites an earlier ALA study that says 66% of public libraries offered ebooks to their users in 2010, up from 55% in 2009. Li- —Bob Warfield braries are making an effort to provide more mobile online services, but no two libraries’ efforts are exactly the same. “There’s a wide spectrum of what libraries are
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