Spotlight on Sharing: Library-Created Apps

In 2016, two new apps were launched through the collaborative efforts of Colorado libraries and their partner organizations. Both are free to download from the App Store or Google Play.

CO Play and Learn

 

The CO Play & Learn app, created by Colorado librarians through a grant from the Boulder Library Foundation, provides early literacy learning for parents and caregivers.

 

Wild CO app

The Wild Colorado app was created by Mesa County Libraries in collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to bring the power of library research to the outdoor experience.

 

Though each app is different in its purpose and intended audience, each has commonalities that could be applied to any collaborative technology project. Here are some takeaways from a panel of librarians who recently spoke about collaborative technology projects: Joseph Sanchez, Director of Mesa County Libraries, Erica Segraves, Youth Services Manager at Boulder Public Library, and Jeremy Nelson, Metadata & Systems Librarian at Colorado College.

  • Strong project management is crucial for managing your time, resources, and budget.
  • Leverage the talent that’s already in your organization by doing a talent assessment. You might have an amazing graphic designer, programmer, or writer on staff who could be on your project team.
  • The organizations you collaborate with do not always move at the speed of your project team. Be generous with your time estimates, or, conversely, be prepared to move faster if necessary.
  • Expect the unexpected. No project goes exactly as planned, so try to be flexible and have some contingency plans.
  • It’s OK to fail—failure is part of the iterative process in design thinking. The key is to learn from your failure to build something better.
  • Projects can grow in unexpected directions, especially when multiple agencies work together. Having a clearly defined goal keeps your project on track.
  • Don’t forget about marketing and communications. You’ve spent a lot of time building your app, so invest in marketing and communications so that you reach the maximum number of users.

This post is part of the Spotlight on Sharing initiative, which aims to increase the visibility of resource sharing in Colorado libraries. Is your library building an app or planning a collaborative technology project? We’d love to hear about it! Email Amy Hitcher, ahitchner@coloradovirtuallibrary.org. If you’re on Twitter, follow @hitchlib or use the hashtag #spotlightonsharing.