This study aims to introduce a new mode of mobile library service, named “WeChat Library”, developed under the WeChat (social media platform) public service platform. The design and realization of WeChat Library is also presented with Chongqing University Library taken as the example.
This study designed a new mobile library service system, WeChat Library of Chongqing University Library, analyzed its construction cost and usage statistics and discussed the advantages of the new service mode.
Investigation results showed that 84.6 per cent of the “985” universities opened up WeChat Libraries, which signified that WeChat Library has become one of the important mobile service modes for Chinese university libraries. WeChat Library received high appreciation from the patrons; in 20 months of operation, 20.3 per cent of patrons in Chongqing University had used WeChat Library. The five most commonly used services are OPAC retrieval, items borrowed, personal center, resource discovery and announcements. WeChat Library was found to have many advantages, such as low development cost, automatic cross-platform service, adaptive screen, low acceptance cost, easier promotion, strong user viscosity, strong interactivity and real-time consulting.
The functional design and technological architecture of WeChat Library was presented with Chongqing University Library taken as the example. The technical realization of several unique services, namely, QR code access, space reservation and overdue reminders, was also demonstrated. The study will provide favorable suggestions and references for other libraries that have also launched the WeChat Library.
The mainstream service mode of mobile libraries is application for mobile terminals (APP). Although mobile services are applied extensively in China, numerous small- and medium-sized libraries are still unable to provide mobile services for patrons primarily because the investment is too high to bear for some libraries. Therefore, mobile library services urgently need a more economical model of mobile services. The most prominent advantages of WeChat Library are its low development cost and low technology threshold. WeChat Library can provide a better solution for mobile library services.
The authors acknowledge the funding support from the National Social Science Fund of China (No. 12XTQ003).
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