Libraries lead the way

CHARLES TWEED/Rimbey Review

 “If you don’t have an IPhone, you don’t have an IPhone,” states Apple’s newest attempt to sell more of its popular personal devices.

Well now, not only do you not have an iPhone but you also don’t have access to the BookMyne application.

The Parkland Regional Library, which includes the Rimbey Municipal Library, recently announced that all 50 of its public libraries can now be searched through the new app.

“Technology is constantly changing all the time and anything we can do is a positive. If the libraries don’t keep up with technology we would become nothing but a warehouse for old dusty books,” said Rimbey library manager Jean Keetch.

BookMyne 2.1 comes with several features including barcode scanning capabilities that allow users to scan the barcode of any book anywhere and check its availability in their local library. Imagine backpacking in New Zealand and running across an interesting character who tells you all about a gripping book he’s been reading. As he pulls it out of his bag, you give it a quick scan only to realize you can get it sent from Stettler to the Rimbey library when you get home. Keetch did caution that if the book was a hard cover it would search library records for a hard cover copy and may miss the fact the library has the book in a soft cover version.

The new application also comes with a social recommendation engine that allows the user to search for books that have been read and ranked by their friends.

For centuries libraries haven’t changed, mostly because they haven’t needed to change. The written word, in the form of a book, magazine, or newspaper was the method people used to receive their information.

But the times are a changing and so is the library.

“We need to be accessible to our patrons and right now these smart phones, particularly the IPhone, are all the rage and if people want to use them, why not?” said Keetch. “We need to keep up otherwise we will become obsolete and it’s not just libraries, everybody needs to keep up or become obsolete.”

eBooks and eAudiobooks are another way libraries are becoming more appealing to the public.

“We have had a huge number of people enquiring about eBooks,” said Keetch.

The new application creates another option for library users to get the information they want quickly and efficiently, all the while ensuring libraries will remain relevant well into the future.