In an era of enhanced mobile communication technologies, vast amounts of changes are being generated in facilitating communication and the transfer of information (Steenderen, 2002). Libraries are mastering the mobile web to bring about a new set of services (Kroski, 2008). To enable this, new communication practices are necessary to keep in touch with library users.
Mobile devices have made access to information very convenient and timely to the users from the comfort of their own home or office or wherever they are. Bangladesh is one of the few countries in the world that can guarantee each one of its residents can get a cellphone signal – no matter where they are, in a country with a population of over 150 million (BBS, 2012). Citycell, the first cellular company in Bangladesh, started operations in 1996. GrameenPhone (widely known as GP) is the second operator and started its operations in 1997. It is a joint venture enterprise between Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation, a nonprofit sister concern of the internationally acclaimed microfinance organ ization and community development bank, Grameen Bank. In 2006, Bangladeshi Professor Muhammad Younus and Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize for economic and social development. PalliPhone (‘rural phone’, a service of Grameenphone for rural people) was the first mobile tool that reached out to rural women in Bangladesh. The total number of mobile phone subscribers has now reached 116,553,000 as at the end of June 2014 (BTRC, 2014). At present, there are six mobile phone operators offering mobile phone services in Bangladesh, listed in Table 7.1.
Mobile phone applications in LIS services
Wireless technology has the potential to offer many new possibilities for accessing information from online catalogues, online databases, the internet and virtual libraries (Karim, Darus and Hussin, 2006). Today, the convergence of mobile phones and the internet through the WAP standard presents libraries with a real opportunity to deploy wireless phone technology to manage their operations for the following services:▪checking records of books borrowed▪getting alerts on overdue books▪getting alerts on outstanding fines▪receiving reminders to return library items that will be due soon▪renewing library items▪reference enquiry services▪receiving text alerts to new resources on the library website▪getting alerts on library event information▪getting information from the library OPAC/database▪contacting a librarian for help.