The preparedness of University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) libraries to implement and use mobile phone technology in the provision of library and information services.
The study investigated the preparedness of University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) libraries to implement and use mobile phone technology in the provision of library and information services. This investigation included the factors which could influence and impact technology adoption. It is imperative that libraries respond to changes in technology in terms of the provision of their services. A recent development has been the emergence and proliferation of mobile phone technology and it is the adoption and implementation of this technology by academic libraries in the provision of services that concerned this study. The significance of this study lies in its adding value to the little knowledge out there by improving our understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with mobile technology in an academic library context. In terms of the methodology, the study used a quantitative approach and survey design. Data was collected from a total of 30 staff members working in libraries on the UKZN Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses. A self-administered questionnaire that consisted of both open and closed questions was used to collect the data. The research questions which underpinned the study can be summarised as follows: what mobile phone technology is and what it comprised of in this research context, what skills the staff required to be able to provide library and information through mobile phone technology, and finally, what technological, organizational and environmental factors could influence the implementation of this technology in the libraries concerned. The Technology Organisation and Environment Framework (TOE) was used as the framework to guide the study. The data collected was analysed using SPSS and the findings were presented in the form of tables, bar graphs, pie charts and text. Interpretation of the findings revealed that the staff of the libraries were in the main positively predisposed to mobile technology, with many of them having Internet enabled mobile phones and the skills to do some of the tasks associated with the provision of library and information services via the technology. The technological, organizational and environmental factors identified and investigated were such that the libraries could be regarded as sufficiently prepared for the introduction of mobile phone technology in the provision of services. Funding or budgetary constraints, however, were identified as the main constraint. Recommendations were made based on the finding of the survey and the literature review and these relate to funding concerns and the implementation and usage of mobile phone technology to the advantage of the libraries.