Why smartphones are the greatest thing since sliced banana bread, and proof that everyone will have one soon

Photo courtesy of ste3ve (http://bit.ly/lbwEOj)

One of the areas that I am really interested in is mobile technology.  In the past year, not only did I get my first smartphone, but I also got an iPad, and both of these devices have really changed and enhanced my life, especially my smartphone.  Now, I don’t just use my cell phone to make calls and text people.  I use it to get my news on the go, listen to Chicago sports radio live in my car (even though I live in Boston), make intelligence and money-saving purchasing decisions at the store, find great restaurants in unfamiliar neighborhoods, measure my speed and track my distance on jogs through my neighborhood, and so much more! If you own a smartphone, you know exactly what I am talking about.  If you don’t, I assure you, you will understand very soon just what a life changing experience it is to own a smartphone.  I am very interested in collaborating with others to figure out how libraries can serve a greater role in this life changing experience for smartphone users.

Not ready to jump on the smartphone bandwagon? Well, you should be! Just look at the statistics:

1) Nearly everybody has a cell phone:

85% of all Americans own a cell phone as of seven months ago (including about half of all Americans 75 and older).  And of these 85%…

2) More than half of cell phone users will have a smartphone by the end of this year!

By the looks of this chart, I am predicting that about 95% of all cell phone owners will have smartphones by the end of 2014.  But do these numbers include all of the populations we serve?

3) Yes! We aren’t just talking about the white population.  In fact, many minority groups have above-average smartphone adoption rates:

In fact, smartphones are helping to close the digital divide.

I think these numbers illustrate just how critical it is for our libraries to offer mobile services to our patrons.  So, how can libraries serve our rapidly growing smartphone user population? I will discuss some ideas early next week.  Right now, I need to grab my smartphone and go for a jog on this beautiful late April day here in the Boston area.


Hi, I’m Ryan Livergood. I am the Executive Director of the Warren-Newport Public Library. I was previously the Director of Libraries in Arlington, Massachusetts, Assistant Director of the Dover Town Library in Dover, Massachusetts (a Library Journal finalist for “Best Small Library in America”), and I got my start in public librarianship with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. I also spent time in the Library Automation field with Sirsi Corporation (now SirsiDynix). Other positions I have had include teaching English in China and serving in the Peace Corps. I received my MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My wonderful family consists of the best wife on the planet, my two young sons, and a mostly lovable cat. I love sports, especially college basketball and football. I also love to travel, watch great films, and enjoy amazing meals with a nice glass of red wine or a craft beer. Oh, I love reading too, but I’m a librarian, so you kind of knew that already, right?

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