Elgin County Li­brary lean­ing into tech

New apps al­low peo­ple to ac­cess li­brary con­tent wher­ever they are

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - TIMES-JOUR­NAL LOUIS PIN @STTJ_Pin lpin@post­media.com

The Elgin County Li­brary is get­ting a tech boost this fall with the in­tro­duc­tion of Libby and hoopla, the new­est — and eas­i­est, for tech-savvy res­i­dents — way to bor­row books from the li­brary.

For ru­ral res­i­dents spread across Elgin County it will be like hav­ing an on­line li­brary at home, all the time.

Libby is some­what like the li­brary most peo­ple rec­og­nize. The read­ing app, pro­duced by the same peo­ple who made the cur­rent Over­drive app, al­lows users to put holds on books and to check books out.

It’s sim­i­lar to Over­drive but up­dated for eas­ier use.

“What’s re­ally great about th­ese apps is that they’re all … one-tap,” said Laura Mol­nar, li­brary co­or­di­na­tor with the Elgin County Li­brary. “So one tap to ac­cess your li­brary, one tap to log into your ac­count, one tap to ac­cess your con­tent once you’re logged in.”

Mol­nar pre­sented the new apps to Elgin County Coun­cil at their Tues­day meet­ing. Most of the apps are browser-based so those who can ac­cess the in­ter­net can ac­cess the con­tent. All are avail­able as down­load­able apps for your phone and tablet.

The hoopla app al­lows card­hold­ers to ac­cess con­tent at any time of day re­gard­less of how many peo­ple have al­ready taken that spe­cific con­tent out. Con­tent in­cludes au­dio­books, mag­a­zines, mu­sic, and movies. Down­loads are lim­ited to six per card­holder, per month.

“Our hoopla app is more fo­cused on en­ter­tain­ment,” Mol­nar said. “It’s very ex­cit­ing. We didn’t re­al­ize it would be re­leased [Tues­day morn­ing] … I just got that news, be­fore go­ing to coun­cil.”

Peo­ple in Elgin County checked out more than 22,000 on­line re­sources last year, up sig­nif­i­cantly from 2015. It’s still far be­low phys­i­cal check­outs — rang­ing from 200,000 to 300,000 per year — but li­brary staff know they need to stay con­sis­tent with mod­ern trends to stay rel­e­vant.

Those in­ter­ested in the apps but un­able to down­load con­tent at home can al­ways drop by one of the li­brary branches. Each are equipped with free wifi and staff able to help card­hold­ers nav­i­gate their dig­i­tal re­sources.

The apps were de­vel­oped for broad use across dif­fer­ent li­brary sys­tems, specif­i­cally in North Amer­ica. Elgin County isn’t lead­ing the charge on this in other words, but they are keep­ing pace.

“On­line con­tent … it’s not cut­ting edge, it’s just sim­ply the way we need to be if we want to keep our com­mu­nity of li­brary users happy,” Mol­nar said.

Card­hold­ers can down­load the apps on their phones and tablets. For more in­for­ma­tion on them go to el­gin­county.ca/li­brary.

LOUIS PIN / TIMES-JOUR­NAL

The Elgin County Li­brary is in­vest­ing in tech this fall, as their cat­a­logue is now avail­able on apps hoopla and Libby. The lat­ter was pro­duced by same com­pany that made Over­drive, which will stay up­dated even as users mi­grate to the eas­ier one-touch sys­tem.

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