Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 27, 2012

BPL launches mobile app service

Bart Doan

BROWNSBURG — A 2009 study by Pew Research Center Publications indicated that land phone lines have gone the way of the dinosaur in up to 25 percent of those surveyed. Many people today go strictly with cell phones.

Keeping up with the times, the Brownsburg Public Library rolled out its new accessibility options for mobile users, which made its official debut last week. They now will be offering not only a moblie-friendly website, but will start a free application for owners of any Apple or Android phones.

The idea is for both services to provide what they call “on the go” opportunities to use library services and information in the palm of their hands.

“We’d seen statistics that more and more people are going mobile and mobile only, so this is something we had been looking at for a while,” explained Amie Thomas, public services administrator for the BPL. “The earliest vendors that could make it were really pricey, but we found something that was a little more affordable that was exactly what we were looking for.”

Users can expect the same features as the regular website, including the library catalog as well as the opportunity to request inter-library loans.

“We have all the things you’d expect, like the account features, hours, information, and then a News and Programs feed that goes right into our library blog so people can get information, as well as

look at new titles,” Thomas said. “It also has our ‘Ask a Librarian’ section.”

On top of that, the mobile application will be able to access a book recommendations feature where staff members try to point patrons in the direction of new materials they might enjoy.

Thomas said the mobile site was built to stress the most popular areas of use from the main website that they researched to get an idea of what patrons were ideally looking to find.

“I like it,” she said of her first hand experience with it. “I’m used to going to sites and having to tap and make the screen bigger because a lot are not mobile yet, but this is really nice and won’t strain the eyes.”

The difference with having a mobile site as opposed to a standard one is that mobile sites and applications are implicitly designed for the smaller phone-sized screen, to help users more clearly be able to navigate the features of the site.

For more information on the mobile site upgrade or the mobile application, patrons can visit the BPL’s website at brownsburg.lib.in.us with their mobile device, which will automatically direct users to the mobile page. To access the application, simply download it from the App Store to the handheld