There seem to smartphone apps for every possible purpose these days. The technology available through smartphones has provided an increasing availability of information to the users of them. An important new direction of these devices and technology is in the use of library materials.
An initial benefit of opening up library information is convenience. Previously a person had to drive over to the library and check their system to see if a book they are interested in is in stock. With the card catalog being available online, people can check from their phone if that book is in stock.
If it is there, it can be put on hold until they can get there to pick it up. With one tap of the phone. If it is not in stock at the time, the user has the ability to ask to be contacted when it comes in, and put on a waiting list. In addition, library networks can also let them know if that book is in stock at another library, and can send it to their library if they wish. All of this can be done from a person’s phone.
While there is a benefit for the librarians of not having to look up book availability all throughout the day, it also encourages more people to access materials through their library. They are more likely to go to the library for the book or other resource material if they are certain it is there waiting for them.
Some institutions, such as Princeton University, have recently designed their mobile app in order to include the library system as part of their web offering. Just one of the elements on their Princeton Mobile app, students can access the entire library catalog and check for status of books as well as have books held for them. This will put the information right at their fingertips and is likely to remind the students about the resources and help that are available to them for their studies at the university.
The Chicago Tribune described a story of recent developments in digital information sharing. The city of Winnetka, Illinois has a public library with a newly hired Director that has an interest in modernizing libraries towards modern technology.
The new Director, Rebecca Wolf, has been updating technological components of the library, including a new smartphone app for the library. The patrons can check out books and look up availability from their smartphones without needing to come up and check at the front desk.
Another new use on the smartphone apps for libraries is for the app to contain the person’s library card information in the app. Instead of having to look through a wallet or keychain to find a library card, the information can be stored directly on the smartphone.
According the the Library Journal Archive, this has been a very popular addition to library apps. People always have their phones with them, and it is much easier for them to find the app on their phone than it is for them to look through their wallet or purse for this card that they do always use that often. They find that most libraries have devised policies that accept these phone-based library cards to be accepted as real.
Many librarians are also getting into the groove with their smartphones in the field of library science. Check out these most popular librarian smartphone apps.