A Library in the Palm of Your Hand: Mobile Services in Top 100 University Libraries

Yan Quan Liu, Sarah Briggs


What is the current state of mobile services among academic libraries of the country’s top 100 universities, and what are the best practices for librarians implementing mobile services at the university level? Through in-depth website visits and survey questionnaires, the authors studied each of the top 100 universities’ libraries’ experiences with mobile services. Results showed that all of these libraries offered at least one mobile service, and the majority offered multiple services. The most common mobile services offered were mobile sites, text messaging services, e-books, and mobile access to databases and the catalog. In addition, chat/IM services, social media accounts and apps were very popular.  Survey responses also indicated a trend towards responsive design for websites so that patrons can access the library’s full site on any mobile device. Respondents recommend that libraries considering offering mobile services begin as soon as possible as patron demand for these services is expected to increase.

Full Text:



ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee. 2012. “Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries." College & Research Libraries News 73, no. 6: 311-320. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Ashford, Robin, and Laura Zeigen. 2012. “Mobile Technology in Libraries Survey.” Accessed

June 21, 2014. http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/library/about/staff-directory/upload/mobile_survey_ACADEMIC_final.pdf.

Barnhart, Fred D., and Jeannette E. Pierce. 2012. "Becoming Mobile: Reference in the

Ubiquitous Library." Journal Of Library Administration 52, no. 6/7: 559-570. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Boateng, F. & Liu, Y.Q. 2014. “Web 2.0 applications’ usage and trends in top U. S. academic libraries.” Library High Tech, 32(1).

Canuel, Robin, and Chad Crichton. 2011. "Canadian academic libraries and the mobile web."

New Library World 112, no. 3/4: 107-120. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Elmore, Lauren, and Derek Stephens. 2012. "The Application of QR Codes in UK Academic

Libraries." New Review Of Academic Librarianship 18, no. 1: 26-42. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Houghton, Sarah. 2012. "Mobile Services for Broke Libraries: 10 Steps to Mobile Success."

Reference Librarian 53, no. 3: 313-321. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Kosturski, Kate, and Frank Skornia. 2011. "Handheld Libraries 101: Using Mobile Technologies

in the Academic Library." Computers In Libraries 31, no. 6: 11-13. ERIC, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

La Counte, Scott. 2013. “Introduction.” In Mobile Library Services: Best Practices, edited by

Charles Harmon & Michael Messina, v-vii. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press.

Li, Aiguo. 2013. "Mobile Library Service in Key Chinese Academic Libraries." Journal Of

Academic Librarianship 39, no. 3: 223-226. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).


FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES." ARL: A Bimonthly Report On Research Library Issues & Actions no. 261: 1-4. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Osika, Brittany, and Cate Kaufman. 2012. "'Mobilizing' Community College Libraries."

Searcher 20, no. 9: 36-46. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Paterson, Lorraine, and Boon Low. 2011. "Student attitudes towards mobile library services for

smartphones." Library Hi Tech 29, no. 3: 412-423. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Peters, Thomas A. 2011. "Left to Their Own Devices: The Future of Reference Services on

Personal, Portable Information, Communication, and Entertainment Devices." Reference Librarian 52, no. 1/2: 88-97. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

Smith, Aaron. 2013. “Smartphone Ownership 2013.” Accessed June 21, 2014.


Thomas, Lisa Carlucci. 2010. "Gone Mobile? (Mobile Libraries Survey 2010)." Library Journal

, no. 17: 30-34. ERIC, EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2014).

U.S. News & World Report. 2014. “National University Rankings.” Accessed June 21, 2014.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v34i2.5650


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Information Technology and Libraries

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



SCImago Journal & Country Rank data for ITAL