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Four ways to embed the library into students’ daily lives with a mobile app


November 23, 2023 | 5 min read |

Matthew Sherlock


In a recent Alterline survey of 1,500 students from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, 73% of students agreed that using a mobile phone is an essential part of the student experience. However, in our conversations with academic libraries around the world about what’s next for the library and how the library can remain relevant in an evolving academic experience, librarians seldom mention the smartphone.



I truly believe mobile devices are the library’s ticket into playing a more central role in student success and the student experience, and not just because of what 73% of students in an Alterline report said. In my 8 years of working with universities and more recently libraries on their mobile offerings, I’ve seen firsthand how mobile products allow institutions to become a core part of their students’ day-to-day. From my perspective, this is all about convenience and experience. Bringing the library to the student, delivering it in a contextualized way on the users’ device of choice is powerful.



You don’t need to take my word for it. Here are 4 ways Ex Libris mobile customers have embedded themselves into students’ daily lives – to the benefit of their students.



Offering students one app to access key university systems

“It’s a highly complex experience for students at university. We layer on lots of different services and systems that they have to interact with,” says David Goddard, Head of Digital Experience, University College London. “Simplifying that experience is our fundamental premise for using campusM.” By offering students a library mobile app that connects students with all student-facing university systems, the library can simplify the student experience and become an invaluable part of their students’ day.



Personalizing the student experience

We know that personalization can make a huge difference to students by surfacing the right information at the right time, but it’s nice to have confirmation from the world of telecommunications. According to Twilio’s The State of Personalization Report 2023, “Over 56% of consumers say they will become increase buyers after a personal experience, a 7% increase year-over-year.”

Getting up front and personal with students can encourage them to keep coming back to the library. As Joseph Namey, Assistant Director of Enterprise Applications at the University of North Florida, shares, “[Our campusM] app is role-based because we want users to be able to access all of the information that’s relevant to them in one place.” The library can become that one place.



Grabbing students’ attention with instant push notifications

There’s a lot going on at the library that students don’t know about. Prior to launching an Ex Libris mobile app, website and app testing revealed that students at Rutgers University did not think the library held events. Push notifications can surface useful library and university information to different student groups to allow them to make the most of institutional services and activities. “Sending a message directly to a student’s pocket [with campusM] has been revolutionary,” shares Rupert Frankum, Digital Experience & Platforms Manager at the University of Plymouth.



Using Quick Polls to understand student needs

Universities and libraries can get instant insight into what students need from the library to succeed with Quick Polls. Act on insights to improve the student experience and demonstrate that you’re taking the student voice into consideration.



Bring the library to your students with mobile

Many changes are coming to libraries, and at pace. In the next five years, libraries will be dealing with an influx of conversational AI tools like ChatGPT, higher demand for alternative learning materials such as video as well as for audio accessibility to digital texts.

One thing that I don’t foresee changing in the next five years is the omnipresence of mobile devices in our daily lives. Mobile is where students (and frankly, faculty) are at. To increase relevance and become a constant within students’ lives, libraries can look to mobile.



campusM Library is here to help.

To learn more about how campusM Library can help your library become a core part of your students’ day to day, click here.