Monday, February 7, 2011

A Louisville Post ... yay for new Library app!!

When's the last time you went to the library? Sure, I know the shiny, unbroken spines beautifully displayed at Carmichael's and Border's are enticing, but the library is much more fun. Really, it's just about my favorite place in Louisville. Thousands and thousands of books on ANYTHING you want ... and all yours for the borrowing.

I remember being taught how to use the card catalog in the mid-1980s, just as computers were beginning to integrate our homes and classrooms. I loved the huge pieces of furniture that held tiny index-card-sized drawers. But I remember being a library aide in 8th grade -- 1991. I was given the task of peeling off barcode stickers and entering each book's information into a computer program that would one day, perhaps, be a searchable card catalog on our computers.

Since then, of course, libraries have built wonderful websites and sold off those gorgeous oak card catalog to who-knows-whom. Louisville's own library website has been very useful, although kind of a pain to use from my phone. I have been awaiting not-so-patiently the day that they would develop an App that would literally deliver the catalog to the palm of my hand.

And it's today, folks!

Wanted a streamlined and easy way to find out which branch had the latest book on dinosaurs (see? ANYTHING you want!) or the sheet music to great love songs of the 1920s? Done. Want to see how many books you have checked out to you already so you can start searching under your bed? Done.“The Library App is not some watered-down version of the library’s web site,” said Library Director Craig Buthod in the press release. “It’s a fully functioning mobile tool for access to the library, its collections and its services. I think people are going to love the convenience of it and the ease of using it.”

It's a free (wow!) and easy-to-use app that I found with a quick search on my iPhone, though it's "compatible with Internet ready mobile devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPod Touch, iPad, Palm, and Windows Mobile (Windows Phone 7 coming soon.)" You can find any book they have, locate it, place a hold request, and even see how much you owe in late fees/my-dog-ate-this-book-fees. (It happens, folks. Guinness once ate "Puppies for Dummies," no joke.)

Only complaint -- and I'm betting this will change in future app updates (and please correct me if I just couldn't find the link to pay your fines!) -- is that I'd like to be able to pay my fines on the app. Currently, it's super-easy to pay your fines via credit card on www.lfpl.org, thus eliminating the shameful check-out procedure where the librarian alerts you to your $3.60 fine. So if you've been avoiding the library because you're embarrassed, just go to www.lfpl.org and pay your fines. Then you can go to the library with a clear conscience and get that book on how to play the guitar or the travel guide to the Bahamas (always a nice pick-me-up for February reading).

Anyway, it's a great app, and I love being able to browse the card catalog at any point -- even while I'm already in the library. http://lfpl.boopsie.com/ to download, or just search your phone's app store.

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