PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
The new Library APP
By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, May 18, 2014
The library system has a new APP for our users with iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablets, WindTows and Samsung phones; and all those things!
Developing an APP for the library that would work on peoples mobile devices was a complex project and I am pleased to announce that I had nothing to do with it, technologically speaking.
It is a FREE download, available at the App Store or Google Play, and is simple to add to your device.
You choose which ever branch library of our system you use and begin searching the database of 7 million items contained in over 90 library systems in Ohio.
The name of the APP is BookMyne.
It allows you to search the database, place requests online for available materials, log into your account and renew items, see what items are checked out and when they are due, get recommendations from the system for what-to-read, and scan barcodes to see if the item is available.
We will have a simple how-to guide available shortly to help with the process.
The typical book, CD, or DVD in the system has an average of twenty tags attached to it for searching purposes, as well as the standard searching tools that have been part of a library catalog for years.
The system then holds user information to match against requests and holds for purposes of notification of the person when the item arrives at the selected library.
All of these tags are the reason that the development of an APP for a library is far more complex than an APP for other purposes.
It has been 21 years since our card catalog was closed and disappeared from the library scene. It is to the point that a new generation today looks puzzled when I use the term card catalog and have to describe the 3 x 5 cards in drawers that formerly was the guide to a library collection.
In the old days, no one would admit that they didnt know how to use a card catalog. It was clear that few people really knew how to tip-toe through those card drawers, and surveys performed by library users pre-1990 found at only ten percent really understood them.
Have you checked the card catalog was usually followed by a blank stare and an ummm, well, er, ah never wanting to admit they didnt have a clue.
I came to realize that we librarians were talking gibberish to library users in attempting to explain a card catalog. I remember standing at one of those cabinets with a million drawers, saying Here is the card catalog with tracings for author, title, and subject, and cross references and see and see also cards to rotate your search to the options.
People were so polite, gently smiling as the librarian continued to rattle off the Dewey Decimal System and the fact that biographies or autobiographies were arranged by 92 or 920 or B according to the biographee which would be the same as the author if it was an autobiography.
Fiction, of course, was separate from the nonfiction and arranged by the author unless there was more than three authors which switched the Cutter number to a title entry. Sometimes Mysteries, Westerns, and Science Fiction were separated by genre, and nothing is alphabetized by A, An, or The.
Is it any wonder people didnt listen to us?
The great thing about the new library APP was demonstrated the other day as I watched a young child zoom through the library database on his phone placing requests for this and that.
And not once did he drop the card catalog drawer on his foot.