by Brian Zylstra | October 14th, 2013
Dozens of libraries throughout Washington are now providing patrons with free access to a new mobile application or “app” connecting them to their library.
The new app, called LibraryNow, lets users locate and search their library catalog wherever they are. People can use the app to locate books, movies, music and more with easy search features designed for mobile devices. The app is another way to make it easier and more convenient for people to access their local library and take advantage of its services.
“Libraries want to connect with their customers in every possible way, and this new app will help them do that,” said Washington State Librarian Rand Simmons. “Apps are used so often by Smartphone users that it was just a matter of time until there was an app for libraries. It’s another positive step in making it easier for people to use libraries and their many services.”
The LibraryNow app will enable patrons to:
• Find their local library.
• Get library locations, directions, hours, phone numbers and staff contact information.
• Access a library’s entire catalog, including search for books, movies, music, and more, and placing holds and renewals if you have a library card.
The Washington State Library has partnered with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation on the new app. The foundation provided a $200,000 grant to pay for one full year of public library subscription costs for it. Federal Library Services and Technology Act (from the Institute for Museum and Library Services) funding covered development costs for both academic and public libraries.
Public, tribal, and non-profit academic libraries are eligible to participate in this two-year project. Academic libraries will pay their own subscription costs. Public libraries will be expected to provide their own funding after the one year of provided subscription funding expires.
A total of 43 academic, public or tribal libraries or library districts are participating in the LibraryNow app project.
The app is currently available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices, both smart phones and tablets, and versions for other platforms (like Windows and Blackberry) will be available soon.
Other “LibraryNow” app features include:
• Quickly and easily download eBooks and audiobooks onto a phone or tablet, from library services like OverDrive or OneClickDigital.
• Catalog Search using mobile-specific Smart Prefix Search. Simply type the first few characters of key words. For example, instead of typing the full name “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis,” the user simply types “ja k on” into the search box.
• Easily access the library’s computer system to check due dates, renew items, place holds, etc.
• BookLook, which uses a phone’s camera to scan a book’s International Standardized Book Number (ISBN) to instantly check its availability in a library.
• Ask-WA: Chat with a Librarian.
• Lists of recommended books and other reading materials.
• A library’s social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., depending on which specific media a library uses).
This is the latest in a series of blog posts, called “Falling for the State Library,” on your Washington State Library’s many online services and features. The Library is a proud division of the Office of Secretary of State.