The newest version of the BookMyne app for iPhone, iPod and iPad is now available for the Android series and lets a library patron anywhere in the world check an account, place or cancel holds, search a catalog and renew a book from a smartphone.
One can also keep lists of books to check out in the future and request or browse book award winners and the New York Times best-seller lists.
The app will guide readers to the nearest physical library and let them navigate that library's home page and even scan a barcode to see if the book they want is in the collection.
And it's free.
BookMyne is offered in 42 Utah libraries from American Fork and Eagle Mountain to Logan and Provo.
The state library system began using the app a year ago. The bookmobiles in the rural areas offer the BookMyne app services. Students at Brigham Young University, Utah State University and Southern Utah University can use BookMyne for the universities' libraries.
In January, the Utah County-based company offering BookMyne introduced a fully native Facebook application.
"We looked at the way smartphones are changing the way we access information and we wanted to make it so libraries could be accessed from anywhere in the world," said David King, vice president of Product Management for SirsiDynix.
"Instead of selling the app, we decided to make it part of our maintenance package."
King said BookMyne makes it possible for people to renew a book from a smartphone in other parts of the world. Or, a person can stand in a bookstore, scan the QR (quick response) code and find out if the book is available at a local library.
"We have libraries all over the world using our apps," said Nathan Guinn, SirsiDynix product management director. "In Boise, Idaho, the library has the QR code on its home page."
"A lot of other vendors made the library mobile-compatible. We didn't think that went far enough," King said. "As members of a community, we invest a lot of money into a library so it makes sense for it to be as accessible as possible."
Very soon it will be possible to pay library fees and fines with the app, King said.
SirsiDynix hosts and manages the servers that support the app so there's no upfront cost to user libraries.
There is software that needs to be loaded but King and Guinn said that's not difficult.
"It's easily done. The only holdup is moving it to the top of a librarian's to-do list," King said.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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