Library app gets a facelift

Recent statistics show that there are more than 2 million apps available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. A study last year by Yahoo asserts that 90 percent of mobile use time is spent in apps, as opposed to a mobile browser.

In addition, a recent Nielsen survey finds that the majority of a user’s time — 84 percent — is spent on an average of only five specific apps. Those five apps vary from person to person, obviously, but the message is also obvious. People search for apps on their topics of interest, and they build a special loyalty to a select few.

With that in mind, Bartholomew County Public Library recently engaged in a total app refresh, introducing an app that is more user-friendly, colorful and better integrated with our downloadable items. Let’s dig further into some of the highlights of the app.

From my own experience, the No. 1 use of the library app is to monitor library checkouts and holds on materials. Fortunately, the app makes this super easy. Upon the initial launch of the app, the user is prompted to enter library card information, which is then saved in the app.

The app has eight primary buttons on its main menu, and the first is My Account. The My Account menu has an option, View My Record, which will show all current checkouts with due dates, and then lists out all available and outstanding holds.

Next to the My Account option on the main menu of the app is Search. This lets you search the catalog of items housed in library buildings and the Bookmobile. You can search everything in all categories or you can start by selecting a specific types of items to search for, such as an audiobook, children’s item or teen item.

There’s even an option called “Scan ISBN” that uses the camera on your phone to scan the back of a book and see if it’s available in our library. This is great if you find a book while out shopping and would prefer to check it out rather than purchase it.

Do you want to know what events are going on at the library? Tap the Event Calendar icon and see events coming up at all library locations. You can add events to your device’s calendar to receive reminders and sign up for events that require registration. Tap the New Items icon on the app’s main menu to view a list of recent arrivals in a variety of categories, including the ever-popular DVDs. Items listed here have a link to our catalog, so you can place them on hold, too.

Finally, the library’s app is a gateway to the plethora of online information and resources available through the public library. Our Digital Downloads menu is where you’ll get access to downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, music, comic books and more. We subscribe to several services that allow patrons to borrow these items at no cost.

The library app allows you to browse the online catalogs or download the apps for each of these services. The Online Resources menu is divided into subject menus so that you can access resources for genealogy, consumer reviews, legal resources, homework help, language learning and more.

To find the library app, just search your app store for “Bartholomew County Public Library.” It is available on Android, Apple iOS and Kindle Fire.

Tyler Munn is reference supervisor at Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at tmunn@barth.lib.in.us.