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How Rutgers University Libraries are engaging patrons with the Library Mobile App


February 28, 2023 | 5 min read |

Rutgers University went live with their Ex Libris Library Mobile App in September 2022. We spoke with Abigail DiPaolo, Senior Executive Director of Administration & Technology at the Rutgers University Libraries, to learn more about how the app is impacting patrons and librarians.


Hi Abbey! Thanks for joining us today. To start with, can you tell us what the patron response has been like since the app first launched?

Overwhelmingly positive. We’re engaging patrons with the app at the circulation desk, running contests and promotions, and the patron reaction has been great. It’s a bit of an unknown territory for us, but the students that are using it, love it. It’s the same with our university administration – they love it. Everyone we can get to download it loves it. The challenge is actually getting students to download it and login.


Promoting any app to students can be tricky – how have you been marketing Library Mobile so far?

We’ve put a lot of thought into marketing and launched both strong digital and physical media campaigns. We have a lot of print promotion in our physical spaces and have done some partnerships with the dining halls to put ads with the QR codes on the tables. We’ve only been promoting it for a couple of months, and the app already has 2,000 registrants. We’re also reaching out to other groups on campus that have an app to see what their adoption rates are like, and to learn more about their strategies for marketing an app.

A call to action to download the app also lives in the navigation bar of every single library web page.


Are there any Library Mobile features you’re using to engage patrons that have downloaded the app?

Right now, we’re using Quick Polls. Long-term, we’d like to really leverage a lot of creative promotion with Quick Polls – maybe we’ll do some Easter egg type things, where we send people to find things in the app or to learn about the library.

We also plan on using Quick Polls for advertisement: “Did you know that you could do this thing with the app, have you tried using it to do that?” Anyone who answers a Quick Poll correctly gets entered into a raffle for Rutgers Library swag. Then we ask people to take a picture with the swag for social media, so essentially, we have patrons promoting the app for us.


What are the challenges you’re facing in terms of maintaining the app?

Creating a content schedule and finding the staff time to generate content. The app is like a baby, you know? It has to be nurtured. So the question is, how do you maintain engagement? How do we entice the people that are already registered to stay active on the app?


How is your team finding the back end of the app?

My developers and my sys admins have been super happy, they find it very simple. I love that we talk about tweaking things while I’m in a meeting and as we’re talking, they’re like, “yep, done it.” Now that they are familiar with it, I think my folks find it very easy to navigate.


Which features are getting the most use so far?

Definitely booking spaces, but also Primo’s library discovery service. Leganto’s list management system isn’t getting as much use as we expected. We’re talking about how to promote that, because we think it’s one of the best pieces of the app.


How did you decide which tiles to include in Library Mobile to begin with?

The library rolled out a new website in July 2021. We’ve been looking at the user analytics of our site, and we had a lot of data about what people were doing in terms of mobile on the sites. Those analytics heavily influenced what we did with the app and how we prioritized tiles.


Is personalization on your Library Mobile roadmap?

For sure. Our patrons tend to have a very strong affinity to one of our campuses. Longer-term, as we learn more about the app and how our patrons are using it, we may look at using Roles to customize the experience. That way, they’ll see content that’s specific to the campus they spend the most time at.


Anything else you’d like to add?

I always say to my team, the possibilities of what we can do with the app are endless, if we really get a sense of what our community is looking for.


Learn more about Library mobile here