Of the 10000 manchester library emails that were opened in March 2012 3200 were read on a mobile phone. Apps make life easier for a generation of people who don't have the time to deal with council by waiting on hold or reading websites. People will be able to sit on a train and reserve a book, check their loans and even renew books.
Library Anywhere takes the library catalogue and makes it mobile so it's available on a phone or tablet computer. You can do things like search for a book, make a reservation, renew books, see when storytime is and more.
The app works on all phone models. There’s an iphone version and an Android version. As well as native apps there is also a web browser version which works on any phone with internet access. T also works on A Kindle and a Kobo ereader.
The universal version can also be used as a simple and fully accessible web version of the catalogue which means it is a good choice for people who may want to use screen readers and other devices.
So lets look a little closer at Library Anywhere To get to a library you can browse by location or you can use your phones GPS to find libraries near you. You can also go directly to a given library using the direct URL. It’s good to have this web version in addition to the native apps beacuase it means customers don’t have to then go looking for your catalogue - it comes to them. We can email customers the URL, include the URL in email ressie and overdue notifications. We can stick QR codes in books that lead to the mobile catalogue and on any printed material. Library Anywhere can also redirect mobile users of your catalogue to the web version and it will take the user to the version of library anywhere that matches their specific device - on an android it will go to the android version, iphone will go to the iphone mobile web and any other device will go to the universal version. It will also invite users to check out the app if there is one currently available for their platform.
The key part to library anywhere is the catalogue because its going to encourage people to reserve and borrow books, but there is also the facility to create a custom homepage so you can make it your entire mobile presence. This is the administrative back end that lets you create the homepages. It’s simple to add a logo, create buttons and content, link out to ebooks and audiobooks, twitter, facebook, whatever you like.
You can list all your libraries, their hours and locations. It also allows you to add free text so here I’ve added some information about Easter opening hours. It also links out to google maps Events is powered by an RSS feed so it will automatically pull event listings into library anywhere in real time so there’s no extra updating to do.
You can also use your phone to check and manage your library account. My Account provides the same account options as the normal catalogue It allows you to view your loans and reservations, renew items and to view fines and reading history.
We’ve also added a contact page, called Talk to us which directly launches email, phone or sms messaging plus you can also link out to social netowrks you might be using or Ask a Librarian chat services.
Library Anywhere also lets you create extra pages for you app so as an aexample I’ve created a Reading Ideas page that links to book recommendation websites and to reading lists on the library catalogue. You could also link to saved searches on the catalogue or lists of books by particular authors or on specific themes in your catalogue.
Searching the catalogue from your phone is the key part of Library Anywhere. You can choose to include drop down options for search type and location or you can just leave it as a simple keyword search - sometimes less is more on mobile. Search results are identical in real time to the web catalogue so new items are added the moment they enter the regular catalogue.. On the book record page the reserve function is up high followed by availability information and you can scroll down and browse around for more information. If you subscribe to any other librarything catalogue enhancements your customers will see more information - similar books, tags, awards and reviews and recommendations. As well as reserving the book from this page you can also star items to save them for later. If a book is in an ebook format the search results includes a link out to Overdrive to download or reserve the content. I don’t know if you subscribe to love film but since I’ve got the iphone app I have ordered loads more films because it’s so easy. I see a film on or in the paper my phones always with me and I can order it there and then. I think it’s the same with library apps. It’s so quick to reserve books.Librarything also provide a ‘if you like’ amazon style ‘recommended for you’ book recommendeation service
The app also also has a barcode scanning tool so if I’m at a bookshop or at a friends house I can use libraryanyhwere to scan the barcode on the back of the book and see if it is available in my library. Here’s a video that explains that a bit more clearly!
Library Anywhere also provides QR Codes which can be added to your library catalogue. If a user scans the code with their phone it will bring up the record in library anywhere so users don’t have to write it down or wait for a member of staff to print the record, they can read it direct from their phone walk to the shelf and find it. Users could also scan and save several records to create a list of books stored on their phone.
Library Anywhere provide a comprehensive stats reports to help you understand and measure how Library Anywhere is being used. It shows you charts and tables of traffic, users, and the devices people are using to access the mobile catalogue.
And finally library Anywhere app can be fully customised so the app is yours alone, with no references to Library Anywhere or other libraries. Branded apps give you the ability to set a custom background color, have a custom app icon, a custom app launching screen—and most importantly, they are downloadable under your library’s name in the Apple and Android app stores.
Library AnywhereMaking the catalogue mobileSue LawsonInformation and Digital Team
Why mobile matters• 1 billion of the world’s 4+billion mobile phones are now smartphones• 27% of UK adults and 49% of young adults now own a smartphone• 55% of UK smartphone owners 2011 access the internet on their mobile devices every day• 81% used smartphones to look for local information• By 2014 mobile internet is predicted to overtake desktop internet usageWhy mobile matters Slide 2