Introduction: Rethinking Reference and Instruction with Tablets

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American Library Association/ALA TechSource


When Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the first generation iPad in March 2010, library and information professionals immediately began imagining ways that the iPad, and the tablet devices that would quickly follow, could be used to support and enhance library services. While nearly all areas of academic librarianship have started investigating ways to integrate tablets into their plans and workflows, reference and instructional services have truly embraced the transformative power of this new technology. This chapter gives a quick overview of tablets and their popularity, then considers the role that tablets are playing in the evolution of reference and instructional services in the academic library of the early twenty-first century through a summary of the contributed chapters comprising this issue of Library Technology Reports. The chapter concludes with a brief review of foundational literature and further reading on the topic of tablet computers in higher education and the academic library.


Introduction to Rethinking Reference and Instruction with Tablets. This is a pre-print, made available prior to the full publication. The full publication (9 chapters, total) will be available for purchase by mid-November in the ALA Store:



Miller, R. K., Meier, C., & Moorefield-Lang, H. (2012). Introduction. Library Technology Reports: Rethinking Reference and Instruction with Tablets, 48(8), 5-9