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Posts Tagged ‘apps’

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If you could see all of the activity around me today, you would know that the answer to that question is “yes.”  Of course I would say that as a librarian, but the last few days have brought home to me how much our services are needed.

There is so much information available on the internet that people need someone to sort through information for them.  Librarians find creditable sources and libraries pay to use online databases that the general public cannot afford as individual  subscriptions.  Yesterday I showed a mother the Tumblebooks link on our kids page.  With a computer, children can see the pages of picture books on which the words are highlighted while the computer reads the text aloud.  I also explained the Maker Lab to a very excited patron.These are two of the many resources you can access with your library card.  We offer e-books and audiobooks that can be downloaded to your mp3 player through Overdrive, streaming movies from Hoopla, magazines through Flipster, music downloads through Freegal and a language learning program called Mango.  All of these services can be accessed from home through whatever internet device you own.

We currently have two terrific apps for your mobile device: the ACPL mobile app lets you browse the catalog, check the events calendar, store your library card info and renew books with a touch of your screen; the family app has games, information and much more to offer to parents of young children.  You currently need to have an Apple device to access the family app, but I’m told it will be available for android in the future.

Libraries are gathering points for the community.  Parents attend the same story times each week with their children and make friends with other parents.  Groups use our meeting rooms for quilting, dance, yoga, scrap-booking and, of course, meetings.  ACPL has its own theater and art gallery. There are also live music concerts throughout the year.  This summer ACPL again offers Rock the Plaza concerts outdoors on Saturday evenings.  Oh, by the way, we also have books.

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Several years ago one of my co-workers got her first smart phone and said, “Now I get it, it’s all about the apps.”  I didn’t yet have a smart phone and had no clue what she was talking about.  Now I couldn’t live without them.

I’m not talking about the games I play on my phone.  I mean the dictionary, the maps, the bank, the library, the book reader, the bar code scanner, and those are just the apps I use for myself.  Librarians have many useful apps and websites available to them and we use them daily.

ACPL pays for some of the on-line resources we use for research and you need to come to the library to access many of those.  These data-bases can be accessed from our home page at acpl.info by clicking on the link to research databases.  Some of these also have developed mobile apps.  This is a growing trend. Websites made to be read on computers are not always mobile friendly;  they don’t fit on the screen and are not easy to use.  Many web applications have developed mobile apps to fix this problem.

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The ACPL mobile app is a good example.  With this app you can scan the ISBN bar code on any book and search for it in our catalog. You can search by title and author as well. Then you can see if we have it on shelf and go pick it up or place a hold on the item.  If you have that option turned on on your device, the locations part of the app will tell you which branch is closest to your current location.  While you’re looking, it will also give you the hours of that location.  Different branches have different hours.

You can check the events calendar for the library and ask for a reminder for an event you want to attend.  You can even set the reminder for the number of hours in advance that you want to have your memory jogged.

Of course, you can also use this app to check your account, pay your fines, renew materials and store your barcode so that you can check out at our self check machines.  You still need your pin to log in to the app and to check out materials, so only people with your pin can check out on your card.

I can’t praise the developers of the app enough.  If you have not downloaded the ACPL mobile app, go to your app store for iOS or android and search for ACPL.  The app is free and will make your library experience even better than it already is.  Join the thousands of Allen County residents who are already using this app!  Be sure you also check out our new family app and the overdrive app for e-books.

 

 

 

 

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Freegal music app at a click near you

Speaking of apps … the library has been offering music to our patrons via Freegal since January.  Each user can download three songs per week. These songs from the Sony catalog are available at no cost, have no copying or playing restrictions, and can be kept forever.

Freegal now has free apps available for iPhone (or iPod / iPad) and Android phones.  Just download and install, find our library (search for Fort Wayne, or use ZIP code 46802), and log in with your library card number and PIN.

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Have you visited the ACPL site on your mobile device? For now you won’t get much — just a couple of screen shots and a link to our full site. If you’ve tried to renew via your smart phone, it’s a frustrating experience as you have to zoom in from full site. Our new app developer is working on an ACPL app with the Android version soon to be ready.

Well … never fear — there’s an already app for that! SirsiDynix, the company that made our library catalog, has created a mobile app that will allow you to renew all your library stuff via your mobile device. Available through iTunes and the Android Market, this app will let you check your record, renew items, search our catalog, and place items on hold in a format suited to your small smart phone (or tablet) screen. The catalog search, unfortunately, only looks for items at the branch you have chosen as your default.

Here’s a screen shot of the app. You can even look up items and add to a “bookshelf” for later. You cannot pay fines or change your pin number, but just being able to do all you can makes it pretty great! By the way, the little arrow in the upper right corner is the spot you click to renew and place an item on hold.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

FYI–access to BookMyne will end once our apps are ready. This is just a patch until the big rollout!

P.S. That is indeed my library record up there. Don’t judge me — those are indeed my fines. Library employees accrue overdue fees, too!

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