Those who use The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's free Gospel Library app for mobile devices are in for some significant changes. An upgrade has been released that contains a host of improvements and new features.
Available since 2009, the Gospel Library app has attracted more than 1.5 million active users. Its a tool that can help you study, search, mark and share gospel content. While the Gospel Library app is available for iOS, Android and other devices, the current 3.0 upgrade is for iOS 6-compatible devices. (For older iOS devices, version 2.5 is still available.) The new version, titled Gospel Library 3, is now available in Apples app store.
Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the Seventy explained the importance of the new upgrade:
"The Church has dedicated significant effort to improve this app in order to support church members as they seek to increase their gospel learning and inspiration using mobile devices. We encourage members to use it to enhance their study and draw near to the Lord and His holy prophets."
When you download the upgrade and run it for the first time, the new user guide comes up, detailing the major changes. This new version of the app includes a simplified interface, improved content layout and improved study features.
The first noticeable change is the new interface. As a whole, the app is more intuitive and easier to use. Swipe from the left on your device and open up the "library area." In it are photo thumbnails of Church magazines, scriptures, general conferences and much more.
Swipe from the right and open a "related content area." Use it to see personal notes, footnotes, links, related audio and video recordings, and other scriptures and references related to what you are studying.
Another great change is the design, which includes better typography, more images, imbedded videos and improved layout. For example, go to the library and open the new "Come, Follow Me" youth curriculum. Gone are the endless pages of black and white text, and in their place are videos, color, well-designed text and organized topics. "Preach My Gospel" and "Daughters in My Kingdom" are other examples of great redesign. These digital books look and feel like their printed counterparts. The app also includes new content, including Personal Progress and written and audio versions of "Jesus the Christ."
"This new version will help members improve their study by inclusion of additional materials, images and videos to the content as well as improved personal study and sharing tools," said Elder Golden.
For video content, there are two ways to view it: stream it or download it right to a device so it can be viewed later. For example, the videos section of the library is expanded for teaching and personal use. If there is a video that would be helpful for teaching a lesson on Sunday, it can be downloaded at home and played at church later without an Internet connection. Another change is the download speeds within the app: They are much faster.
For those who enjoy marking up their scriptures, the upgrade allows you to highlight or underline in multiple colors, create notes, link related passages and tag verses. The new bookmarks allow you to easily remember your place in a book not just by chapter but also by exact verse. A new notebooks section allows you to record your thoughts and feelings or review your tagged content.
Sharing your content is now easier. Email, text, tweet or post your discoveries to Facebook. As you sign in with your LDS Account, all your previous annotations are transferred into this new version. As you subscribe to select content, when new issues of the Ensign or other content comes out, it will appear automatically in your library.
The best way to describe the new version of the Gospel Library app is to say that the technical aspects of the app get out of the way so the content and function can be enjoyed. Its exciting to explore the new app to see what changes have been made. With so many significant changes, users are going to be spending a lot more time with the app.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "Who could have imagined not very many years ago that the full standard works and years of general conference messages would fit into your pocket? Just having them in your pocket will not protect you, but studying, pondering and listening to them during quiet moments of each day will enhance communication through the Spirit."