Five Free Mobile Research and Reference Tools to Try at Your Library

I spend a lot of time playing with the latest and greatest mobile apps, but I'm always most impressed with reference and research apps. The fact that one little app can give you access to so much information is pretty mind-blowing. You can recommend these apps to patrons along with other trusted web tools on your website or at the reference desk. On a tight budget? No problem: these apps are completely free.

BARD (iOS) by the Library of Congress provides access to braille and talking books directly from the National Library Service (NLS) Braille and Audio Reading Download (known as BARD). With the BARD mobile app, you get access to nearly 50,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats.

AccessMyLibrary (Android, iOS) by information publisher Gale uses your phone's GPS to find libraries within a 10-miles radius. It then provides free, unlimited access to the Gale resources in those libraries.  It is a great app to recommend to patrons who travel frequently or are looking for more resources.

Teen Book Finder (iOS) by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) can help teen patrons track down the best books and media out there. The app gives you easy access to titles selected by YALSA. You can search by title, author, genre, award, or list.

Relief Central (Android, iOS) is a wealth of disaster relief information. The app curates content and information from the World Factbook by the CIA, CDC Health Information for International Travel, and USAID. The app also provides access to MEDLINE journals and Relief News from the Red Cross.

World Newspapers (AndroidiOS) is an easy-to-use app search engine that gives you access to international newspapers. There are some useful features for managing your various newspaper feeds, such as an RSS reader and the ability to make a customized list. There's also a built-in translator so you can access news regardless of language.

Do you use any mobile apps for reference or research at your library? Let us know in the comments!

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