Mobile Literacy: Competencies for Mobile Tech

Joe Murphy – Yale

This session was about the need for librarians to develop a deeper knowledge of mobile technologies. I enjoyed Murphy’s take on the issue and I agree with home on just about everything he discussed. I only wish he had more time to explain things better. A forty five minute session is just long enough to get to the very basics. He has posted his presentation for viewing later.

Holly Hibner has posted her notes.

He is proposing a set of skills for our community. Mobile skills.

Mobile literate librarian is fluent with mobile technology and its impacts on libraries.

He published a paper last year on the evolving framework of social networking competencies for librarians.

Mobile literacy is quickly becoming a life literacy. It is a skill our patrons and staff are learning and we should be able to help lead them in best practices. Some of those literacies are:

  • Familiarity with mobile technologies (as trends/tools)
  • Aware of the impact of mobile tech (impacts expectations culture)
  • Know what and how: applications for the library (adapt librarian skills, learn for the future)

Mobile literacy

  • Being aware of the impact of mobile tech
    • more important than simply using gadgets
  • Gaining familiraty with mobile techs (is important)
  • Service application and skills

Knowing the technologies

  • creating a baseline of technology terminology
  • aware of trend: including scope and stats
  • familiar with major techs (current techs)

This years top techs

  • Location based (foursquaregowalla etc)
  • QR codes (there are brief description here if you are interested in downloading a QR reader click here)
  • Augmented reality (ReadWriteWeb has a good description of what it is)

Be willing to try and learn

  • Have to learn how to manage our privacy with technology
  • That’s a life skill we all need to learn and be able to teach others


  • Info literacy
  • Info engagement
  • Expectations
  • Physical library
  • Roles of librarians

We need to try to understand new norms

  • Privacy vs Sharing
  • Interpersonal relations – such as using phone to take notes in meetings or bringing information to the reference desk via phone instead of paper
  • Revisit policies about mobile technologies in the library
    • Police the behavior not the technology

Applying the services/skills

  • How to make others (administration) comfortable with new techs and the methods involved with them?
  • Flexibity
    • How do we plan for the new tech?
    • What aspects do we investigate and pursue?
    • Time is limited
  • Who is going to do this?
    • We need not just resources
    • Need to prioritize
  • Let people learn the new tech in a comfortable environment.

Let’s make sure we do grow and grow together.

It’s hard and takes time to learn but there is no replacement for experience.

One of my fellow conference attendees was able to sit down with Murphy after this session. He put the quick interview up on YouTube. Enjoy.

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