"How can I get [insert type of e-resource or content] on my [insert type of mobile device]?"
If your library offers some sort of electronic resource, whether it be e-books, audiobooks, or simply your online catalog, you've probably heard this question before. Perhaps you get more basic, non-library-specific technology questions about mobile devices, like "How do I check my email?" or "Where can I watch a YouTube video?" No matter how large your library is or where it's located, you surely have patrons using mobile devices.
It's important to be up to speed on mobile operating systems so you can better answer your patrons' technology questions and help them access library resources. Chances are your patrons are using mobile devices that run one of these three operating systems:
- Google Android — The latest version is called Lollipop.
- Apple iOS — The latest version is iOS 8.2.
- Windows Phone — The latest version is Windows Phone 8.1.
Don't fret: you don't need to know everything about each operating system (OS). Having a basic understanding of how the core apps work (meaning mail, browser, camera, app store, and so on) as well as how to navigate around the OS should help you answer most basic questions.
You should also have a solid understanding of how your e-content operates on mobile devices. Will patrons need to download an additional app? Where will they find content once they check it out? Try out your library's content on as many mobile devices as possible.
Does your library offer online training programs to patrons? Maybe your staff could benefit from a course in your training program's catalog!
- Lynda Mobile Device Training has a slew of different online training courses on various mobile operating systems, including courses about particular versions, such as Android Lollipop.
- Atomic Training offers training tutorials on iOS and Android as well as a tutorial on mobile phones. Eligible libraries can request donated subscriptions of Atomic Training through TechSoup.
Here are a few useful resources that are tailored to libraries:
- TechSoup for Libraries' Welcoming Mobile Devices in Your Library: webinar recap and archive.
- WebJunction's training resources on mobile devices.
- Developing Library Staff Skills for Mobile Technology (Slideshare from Chad Marin of Novare Library Services, Inc.).
Tech Blogs, FAQs, and Guides
Mobile operating systems are constantly changing. While Android might be at Lollipop today, next thing you know, Google will be releasing Marzipan, New York Cheesecake, and Oatmeal Cookie (caveat: these are not real or confirmed Android version names, but simply guesses based on Google's alphabetical dessert naming convention!).
It's important to stay on top of these new versions, changes, and features by way of tech blogs, guides, and FAQs. Here are a few to bookmark, divided up by OS:
- CNET's Android Lollipop guide
- Androinica's Beginner's Guide to Android
- Official Android Blog
- Greenbot Android blog
- Android Police's Lollipop category page
- Verizon's Android OS FAQs
- Apple's What Is iOS?
- MacWorld's iOS 8 FAQ
- 9to5Mac's iOS section
- CNET's iOS 8 review
- iMore's iOS 8 page
Microsoft Windows Phone
Got a mobile OS training resource or favorite blog? Share with us in the comments.