I recently came upon an article from American Libraries about 40 great mobile apps for outreach and reference. (See here). Because I usually have a queue of articles to read taller than I am, I almost put it at the bottom. Then, I remembered the session at ALA one of my colleagues attended and shared with me.
The American Libraries article was beneficial, because it reiterated the message and resources from a small session months ago. I am tempted to download at least all of the free apps to be prepared for myself, but having the list seems to be more than enough. There are apps from homework help and language learning to lawyer advice and first aid information. My favorite app, for the simplicity and uniqueness, is Sit N Squat- an app that allows you to input your location and find the nearest open bathrooms. Funny now, but when you really need it, I bet it helps.
Why is this noteworthy? It again shows that librarians are no longer contained in the four walls of their library. We don't just help with finding books or homework questions, we are there to help users get the information they need whenever they need it. Elizabeth Mahoney, my professor of many courses, said when you're a librarian, other people know it just by your demeanor. When you're in the grocery store, people are likely to come up and ask where the water chestnuts are and when you're at the gas station, they'll ask for directions to the movie theater. If you're like me, you have no clue when it comes to directions, but you always have the resources at your fingertips to find the information fast.
Although I have yet to procure a career in the field, I am still hopeful I can be of help to people when I'm serving at work, at the farmers market, or in the park. I suppose this further illustrates my niche in library world.
Disclaimer: I realize library outreach isn't new, but I still appreciate being reminded how easy it is to help people pretty much any time and any where. Also, the image is from the article, and links to it. :)
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Recent MLIS graduate & lover of writing. This is a narrative of my first look into the librarian profession.