Akiko Bremar, Contributing Writer
A mobile library application for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets will soon be made available to students.
The library recently received a government grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), called the Mobile Solutions Grant, which offers money to libraries that want to create or enhance a mobile site.
Just last year, the school applied for the grant through TSLAC and wrote a proposal for a mobile catalogue for the library, since the librarians thought it would benefit students.
“The mobile catalog will offer a wide variety of services,” access services librarian Cherie Hohertz said. “Once the free app is downloaded, students will be able to search our holdings, create reading lists, renew materials and pay fines, all from their smartphone or tablet. There will also be links to mobile versions of our databases, subject guides and full-text journals. It will be a complete library experience from anywhere.”
For the most part, students think that this is a great step for the school to take.
“I think that it is going to be helpful for students to have library access on-the-go,” junior and library student worker Zac Moritz said. “They can use EBSCO, JSTOR, or any other database from anywhere. It will be advantageous for students to pull information quickly, especially for college students who are always in need of research materials or library access.”
Sophomore Sam Riney agrees with Moritz. Both are history majors and often use the library for research.
“It is useful to have mobile access because students won’t necessarily need to go to the library,” Riney said. “As soon as a professor assigns reading or another assignment, students will be able to check out a book or reserve something right away. If you don’t have time to go to the library, or if the internet connection is slow, all you will have to do is open your phone, and the library is right there.”
Though many think that the step toward electronic mobility is a good thing, senior Paige Hryszko does not think it a necessary advancement.
“I enjoy the experience of going to the library and thumbing through dozens of books when I’m doing research,” Hryszko said. “I don’t think I would find the mobile app that useful.”
Though it is true that students will have mobile access to the library catalogue and other electronic materials, the new app will not decrease the need for librarians or print materials.
“There are departments, like the humanities, who have all their resources in print,” Hohertz said. “For that reason, we will never move fully towards electronics. There will always be a need for librarians. UD has access to over 120 databases, which can be overwhelming for students who don’t know what kind of resources they are looking for. Students and patrons will always need librarians who can help them find their way around the library and find specific resources. That’s what we are here for.”
Hohertz continued to share her excitement for the future upgrade, pointing out that “everyone … does everything on their mobile devices these days.”
“It gives students access to the library from wherever they are,” Hohertz said. “All of the resources that we want students to use, or any information that students might need, will all be easily accessible now.”
Weekend library supervisor Perren Reilley feels that the mobile app will be a good thing for the longevity of the library.
“Libraries are more than brick-and-mortar structures these days,” Reilley said. “They are workshops of ideas that have global reach, as far as information is concerned. Anytime you create more points of access to libraries, it is not only empowering to students and patrons, it is also the only way that libraries can survive.”
Though the setup is complex and requires many steps for preparation, and some in-depth testing, William Blakely Library hopes to introduce the new app by the end of April.