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A free smartphone application allows Bartholomew County Public Library users to browse for books, learn about events and download music and e-books.
The app also provides an easy way for patrons to renew items they already have checked out, said library director Beth Booth Poor.
The app is available for Android and Apple devices.
Downloadable content is gaining popularity with local patrons. While total circulation at the library fell slightly from 2010 to 2011, downloads spiked from 8,200 to nearly 34,000. Online database use jumped from about 12,000 to about 19,000.
An increasing number of patrons are accessing the Internet through their smartphones, said BCPL Assistant Director Jason Hatton. Studies indicate that use of services through smartphones is going to continue to increase.
“We knew it was very important for us to make our information as accessible as possible,” he said.
Booth Poor said that when patrons are running errands and realize they have forgotten to turn in a book, they can renew their rentals through their smartphones or mobile devices.
Booth Poor saw the Muncie Public Library’s smartphone app this winter and in February contacted the company that created it. The library has contracted with that company, called Boopsie, which has provided mobile services to more than 300 libraries worldwide according to its website.
The library paid an initial $3,500 for the creation and launch of the app and expects to pay an annual fee of between $2,500 and $3,000 for support and updates.
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