Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
It is always nice to work through a review copy of a book such as M‐libraries 2: a Virtual Library in Everyone's Pocket where you feel that the book serves its purpose and that it will give people the information, guidance and inspiration they may hope for. The content ranges from innovative initiatives to reach remote areas lacking internet access to new tools and technologies, which can add to the functionality of mobile devices. The book builds on a previous edition, M‐Libraries: Libraries on the Move …, as well as the M‐Libraries conference held in Vancouver 23‐24 June 2009.
The publication is timely because of the trend towards mobile services, and in libraries facing a generation of younger users who are totally into ubiquitous devices. The range of topics included succeeds in drawing the reader's attention to the possibilities offered by mobile devices, and the strengths and challenges to be faced. Although each is very brief, the 27 chapters presented in five parts succeed in stimulating interest in the latest devices
In part 1 the tone for the book is set by considering the use of mobile technologies in libraries from countries around the world, e.g. India, the South Pacific, Catalonia and Houston. Part 2 focuses on the technologies used in M‐Libraries. Chapters here cover the implementation of iPhones, a mobile device automatic detector, and bibliographic ontology and eBooks. These are preceded by a chapter on the evolution of modern library services, and their evolution into the e‐domain. In part 3 a number of applications are addressed such as mobile access for workplace and language learning, service models for information therapy services, health literacy, roaming services and the roles of agents in supplying content on mobile devices. In part 4, the focus is on learning; a potential niche for libraries. Chapters cover amongst other things the need for information skills for mobile delivery, the contribution libraries can make, the role of the library in distance education, engaging the X and Y generation, “information literacy gets mobile” and support for students. In the concluding part 5, the very important issue of building an evidence base for M‐libraries is addressed in four very interesting chapters.
I can highly recommend M‐libraries 2: a Virtual Library in Everyone's pocket to all practitioners in libraries: those who are engaged in the use of mobile technologies, and those who still need to be drawn into the changing field. It is recommended for practitioners who are the decision‐makers, as well as those at grassroots level who need to implement and make them work. It is certainly also a publication that belongs on recommended reading lists for undergraduate, as well as postgraduate students.
Just a final thought that came up when writing this review: it would really add value to the literature of librarians, and information professionals if somebody would take up the challenge of editing a work which would nest the new developments in the service ethos and challenges faced in the provision of services and information provision over many decades. With this, I mean a book that will link such groundbreaking developments to the classic texts in library and information science, which seldom needs to be quoted anymore when dealing with such exciting developments.