Wherever you go, there we are! Mobile access to our library.
There’s an app for that. Indeed. The real question is do you actually want to use it?
Why would you want yet another app for your mobile device? If you are like me, you’ve downloaded many an app only to decide to remove it because it doesn’t work well, has limited functionality, or crashes the phone. How many “force closes” do you have to see before you dump it? Sometimes apps are so full of glitches I’m amazed that anyone would use them!
I’m happy to report to you that the library has a new app and it’s one well-worth downloading. More about that in a minute. First, let me give you some background.
The library has been working with a software company that specializes in mobile apps (with libraries as one of their main markets). Their name is Boopsie; for what reason, I’ve never learned. If they were looking for an unforgettable name, I believe they succeeded. Though my own memory is sketchy at times, I haven’t yet *ever* forgotten their company name.
Back to the app. It works on all platforms: Apple/iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile, etc. It even works on the Kindle Fire. You can see a live demo of what the app looks like at http://fort.boopsie.com. Go to the same site on your mobile device to be redirected to the appropriate download for your device. Apple and Android users can also simply look in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace. If you are searching in the market, type in “fort atkinson” to find the app.
It’s free to download. After you download the app, you can move it to your SD card if you need to preserve your device’s internal memory for other programs.
What can this app do? With the app you can quickly search the SHARE catalog, place holds, and renew your items. The app also makes it easy to download e-books and digital media directly to your device through OverDrive, check library hours and upcoming events, follow our blogs and Tweets, contact staff (without even having to enter our phone number!) and more. You can use the camera (if your device has one) to utilize BookLook which scans the UPC code/ISBN and automatically checks it against our catalog in case you are wondering if the library owns an item.
The catalog search is very smart and designed to reduce the need for typing, something very helpful when using a mobile device. Simply type in the first few letters of your search and see results display as you are typing. For example, type in “Lor Ni” to fetch results for author Lorine Niedecker. Or for the title A Supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again: essays and arguments all you have to type is “sup fun th” and there it is! As a librarian, I have considerable admiration for the way the search engine is structured. As a user, I just care that it delivers. And that it does!
This app is very deliberately designed to make connecting with our library resources as seamless and easy as possible. We’ve been working with the developer for awhile now and do still have more changes to make and access to add. However we felt it was ready enough to be released and it has now been approved for both the Android and Apple markets.
Try it and let me know what you think!