Lawrence Public Library offering new phone app service, planning for other tech upgrades in 2019
A new smartphone app could make it easier for Lawrence Public Library patrons to keep track of their accounts and to access library services.
Last week the library began offering services through the app CloudLibrary, which allows library card holders to view books they have checked out, as well as due dates and holds on books, said Aaron Brumley, technology coordinator.
The app, which can be used on phones, tablets and e-readers, also offers a virtual version of the user’s library card. The virtual card shows a bar code, which allows it to be used the same way as a physical card. Through geofencing, the app sends a push notification when a user is near the library. The push notification allows users to open the app directly to their virtual library card for easier checkout.
An earlier app, which the library discontinued some years ago, used to have the bar code available as well, Brumley said.
“That’s one of the features that people liked most about the old app,” he said. “That was the most requested feature, and it’s nice to have that re-created in this new app.”
The app will also send push notifications when a book is due and when a book is checked out.
The service is available to all library cardholders with access to Google Play or Apple Store on their mobile devices. The app itself was created by Bibliotheca, which is the same company the library uses for its self-checkout kiosk system.
The app does not offer the ability to browse the library’s catalog. Brumley said the catalog would not be added to the CloudLibrary app because the library’s catalog functions were made by a different vendor than Bibliotheca. But the full catalog is available through mobile web browsers at the library’s website, he said.
The Lawrence Public Library is one of just a handful Kansas libraries to have access to the app because it is still in beta testing, Brumley said. The library is asking users of the app to provide feedback through an online survey.
“We’ll be working with Bibliotheca to improve the app as much as possible,” Brumley said.
photo by: Contributed photo
Along with the new app, the library also made technology upgrades in the building. Last week the library replaced 18 desktop computers in the Teen Zone with dramatically faster models, Brumley said.
Throughout 2019, the library also plans to replace 10 computers in the lower level of the building, the hard drives for the Mac computers in the studio, three early literacy stations in children’s section with four stationary iPads and three panel catalogs in the nonfiction area with iPad Pros.
The 2019 upgrades are funded by donations from Midco and the Lawrence Public Library Foundation.