Apps change everything at library
The Winnetka Public Library has a new cell phone appliaction to assist users with the library's services. They also help library patrons use e-readers to download e-books. Erin Maassen holds up the cell phone version of the app with Nick Mall in the backg
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:10AM
WINNETKA — With all the new technology available today the role of the public library is constantly changing and the staff at the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District want to let their users know they are here to help.
A few months ago the Winnetka-Northfield Library launched their mobile application for the iPod, iPad and iPhone, along with an Android device app available at winnetka.boopsie.com.
The mobile app allows users to explore and search the library wherever they may be. Patrons can browse the catalog, reserve books, renew their materials, check on any fines they may have, learn about upcoming library events and programs, contact the library directly and follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.
In recent months, staff at the library had noticed an increase in patrons bringing in their own eReader devices. With that came more and more people asking how to use the readers and download books.
“We do get a lot of questions about the devices here at the reference desk,” said reference librarian Nick Mall. “The basic idea is to call to attention the fact people can come in and ask us these things. We focus on our eBook offerings.”
To help assist people with their tablet questions both branches of the library will be hosting APP-ternoons, sessions where staff with knowledge of the eReaders will be on hand to help users get the most out of their devices.
The Northfield branch will host their APP-ternoons sessions every Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. while the Winnetka branch will host the sessions from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. Library users who cannot attend during those times can call the reference desk to set up an appointment.
“The drop-in sessions are brand new with the idea that it’s better to have one-on-one personal attention because everyone has different devices and different levels of knowledge,” said marketing and PR manager Erin Maassen. “We have iPads at all of our public desks for people to use. It’s just another way we can offer library services on the go.”
In addition to the over 16,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks available at the Winnetka-Northfield library, the library district can help members learn a foreign language through the Mango Mobile Library Edition mobile app. Library users who set up an account with Mango through the library district website can access the lessons through their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to access French, Japanese, Spanish and 30 other foreign languages.
Once an account is set up users can learn at their own pace with or without an internet connection.
According to the American Library Association seven percent of public libraries have developed smartphone apps, 76 percent offer eBooks and 39 percent offer eReaders for check out, all of which are now offered by the Winnetka-Northfield Library.
“(The library) is definitely going that direction,” Mall said about the new technology and services. “We want to promote these services and provide assistance for our users.”