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Rethinking Reference and Instruction with Tablets


Tablet computer ownership on university campuses has tripled in the past year, according to a Pearson Foundation survey in March 2012. At the threshold of the Post-PC era, as students’ expectations change, reference and instruction librarians are responding with new services. In this issue of Library Technology Reports Virginia Tech librarians Miller, Meir, and Moorfield-Lang offer a collection of first-hand accounts of academic library projects using tablets. Among the projects detailed: 

  • Subject matter librarians roving campus to increase access and usage of online resources
  • Librarians partnering with faculty of eight academic departments to use tablets in instruction
  • Industrial design students using library tablets in competitions and design lab work
  • Workshops that put mobile learning into information literacy instruction
  • Tablets as a curriculum component in a first-year undergraduate learning community 
  • Cross-departmental library collaboration in planning new services 
Rebecca K. Miller is the information literacy coordinator and college librarian for science, life sciences, and engineering at Virginia Tech. Currently, she serves on the editorial boards of three journals and holds leadership positions in both national and state level professional organizations. 
Carolyn Meier is an instructional services librarian and coordinates first year instruction in Newman Library at Virginia Tech. She has an ED.S in instructional technology from Virginia Tech. She is a past co-chair of the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Transition to College Committee. 
Heather Moorefield-Lang is education and applied social sciences librarian for Virginia Tech. She has a Doctorate of Education, Curriculum and Instruction from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.