28 Days of Teens & Tech #14: Help me YALSA! Apps

Dear YALSA:

The teens in my library are app-crazy! They are asking hard questions like, “I’ve made this app for my droid, but I need help getting the bugs out.” Then I’ve got the adults who don’t know an app from their, well, you know. Can you help me and my patrons sort out the ins and outs of apps? Tell me more about the app marketplace and how the web is being overtaken by the entirely more
convenient app world!

Sincerely,

App-Wary

First of all, an App is just a program that you can run on a device. Some you can download for free. Others require payment. For example, database companies such as Gale are creating apps that allow your patrons to search your databases from their phones or other devices. Apps are available from company websites or at app stores like the Google Apps Marketplace or the Apple App Store.

So what apps should you be investigating as a librarian?

Check out Joyce Valenza’s post on top research apps.’  These aren’t just for your use – encourage your teens to load and use them. It’s the perfect example of meeting them where they are: your library resources on their omnipresent phone.

If you still aren’t convinced that apps are for you, go back and read Linda Braun’s post from Day 2. She makes a great case for why you should be paying attention to apps.

What your teens might want to know about apps is how to design them and get them out into the world. Maybe they’re inspired by the fourteen year-old whose Bubble Ball game app beat out Angry Birds for the top spot in the app store in January.

A scan of the web finds some great how-to articles like Popular Science’s How to Make an iPhone App or The Developer’s Guide for Android. But let’s draw on our collective wisdom. How do you use apps in your library? Have you helped a patron make an app and put it up for sale? Have you created an app just for your library? Share your expertise!

Thanks to Jake Rundle of the Hastings Public Library for suggesting questions about apps. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered, please email Megan Blakemore.