Is There an App for That?: An Exploratory Study into the Use of Mobile Technologies and mLearning within Aotearoa New Zealand’s Higher Education Libraries
1.1. Research problem The objectives of this research study are to explore the extent to which Aotearoa New Zealand’s higher education libraries are using mobile technologies for the delivery of its information and research services, and the impact these technologies may have on the professional development needs of higher education library staff. 1.2. Methodology Using a mixed method design approach, two data sets were investigated. First, the web-based library homepages of 29 higher education libraries within Aotearoa New Zealand were examined for their level of conformance to a mobile platform and second, library staff from the 29 higher education libraries were surveyed for their perceptions of, and experiences in, using mobile technology both within a social context and within the workplace. 1.3. Results This research found that while mobile technologies are in use by the majority of higher education libraries to a degree, financial costs and a lack of resources were identified as barriers to providing virtual library users with mobile services that meet both their needs and expectations. In their current state, the web-based library homepages for the majority of libraries are content-heavy and do not conform well to a mobile platform. This research also found that library staff do not always feel supported in exploring professional development training around mobile technologies and are aware of the impact this may have on providing high level service desk support. In addition, findings suggest library staff are not necessarily aware of new innovations provided by their libraries. 1.4. Implications Library users are likely to experience high levels of dissatisfaction when browsing the library homepage on a mobile web browser due to latency created by content-heavy webpages. Further, mobile services should be fit for purpose to meet the needs and expectations of 21st Century learners.For library staff, consideration should be given to developing professional skills when implementing new innovations within the workplace. Communication channels for marketing new innovations should also be clear and distributed to all library staff.