Elgin County Library leaning into tech
New apps allow people to access library content wherever they are
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.
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.