Selecting and Evaluating the Best Mobile Apps for Library Services

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Library Technology Reports, November/December 2014 (50:8)

Mobile apps and the shift of students from consumers to creators were highlighted as key trends by the 2014 NMC Horizon Reports; meanwhile, technology research firm Gartner predicts that by 2017 some 268 billion apps will have been downloaded. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but this issue of Library Technology Reports is here to help, with succinct guidance for incorporating apps into digital literacy training and other library services. No longer just for media consumption, mobile apps are proving to be excellent tools for content creation. To assist libraries in taking full advantage of their possibilities, Hennig includes:

  • An overview of app literacy examining mobile operating systems, mobile ecosystems, core apps, natural user interfaces, device capabilities, accessibility, and jailbreaking
  • A detailed app evaluation checklist that supplements traditional review criteria for print resources
  • Recommendations for core apps organized around common activities
  • Go-to review sources to keep up with the newest apps
  • Summaries of 19 iOS features that support accessibility
  • Ideas for library instruction and event-programming with apps

Nicole Hennig

Nicole Hennig is an expert in mobile technologies for libraries. In her 14 years of experience at the MIT Libraries, she won awards for innovation and worked to keep academics up to date with the best mobile technologies. Now she has her own business helping librarians stay current with new technologies. She is the author of several books, including Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies and Apps for Librarians. Like most librarians, she is passionate about access to information for all. To stay current with the best technologies for education and productivity, sign up for her email newsletter, Mobile Apps News, on

Library Technology Reports

Published by ALA TechSource, Library Technology Reports helps librarians make informed decisions about technology products and projects. Library Technology Reports publishes eight issues annually and provides thorough overviews of current technology. Reports are authored by experts in the field and may address the application of technology to library services, offer evaluative descriptions of specific products or product classes, or cover emerging technology. Find out more information on this publication and how you can subscribe here.