Mobile Technology and Academic Libraries: Innovative Services for Research & Learning. Edited by Robin Canuel and Chad Crichton. Chicago: ACRL, 2017. 269 p. Paper $68 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-8879-4).

Mobile technologies’ application in libraries is an area still ripe in potential. Despite mobile technologies’ prevalence in the lives of most libraries’ users, libraries often remain reactive, at best, to the implementation of mobile technologies to provide library services. As many of the chapters in this edited volume underscore, mobile technologies reach people from a wider range of socioeconomic levels than traditional web-enabled technologies. Thus, there are both logistical and moral motivations for libraries to adopt mobile technologies.

This book’s chapters span both theoretical and practical considerations, and a range of case studies highlight applications used in academic libraries. Despite having cast a broad net, the editors do a commendable job of arranging the chapters into a loose thematic progression. This results in a volume that is ambitious in scope, yet still manages to achieve a satisfying coherence.

Edward Bilodeau’s opening chapter is well worth reading as a substantive, yet concise overview of how mobile technology shapes user engagement and decisions governing implementation. Subsequent chapters include case studies on mobile website design as well as several examples involving the use of tablets for outreach via library tours, roaming reference services, and instruction. Other chapters address the use of mobile technology to augment collections access. Among the case studies, Wayne Johnston’s chapter on supporting field researchers stands out as one of the more robust and innovative interventions for mobile technology. The final chapters move into more forward-looking possibilities for growth and development of mobile technology in general, but they also speak to library-specific opportunities.

This may not be a title that every librarian needs in their personal toolkit. Public services librarians will find the most to work with here. Those looking for idea templates for their own applications of mobile technology will find the case studies useful. Additionally, visionary innovators will appreciate this volume as an inspirational springboard into unexplored vistas for exciting new service models.—George Gottschalk, Acquisitions Specialist, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois


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