Friday, October 01, 2010

User suggestions for iPhone Applications for Public Libraries

Back in mid Apr 2010, I tweeted: "if the public library had an iPhone app, what would you like the app to do for you?"
Twitter / Ivan Chew: "if the public library had an iPhone app..."

Also posted a similar question at my Facebook status page: "if the public library develops an iPhone app, what would you like the app to do for you? (or maybe you don't think you'd care for one?)"
Facebook | Ivan Chew - question for those who own iPhones re: library app

Here's the verbatim responses (thanks folks!)... btw, I've indicated in BOLD those suggestions that aren't available as current web or mobile services, or have never been tried before by NLB:

Via Twitter:
@ramblinglib check availability of the books u want @ libraries near u! n to be to reserve e book if its on loan.

@ramblinglib catalogue! addresses and opening hours! all linked :)

@ramblinglib I would use it to place holds on books and have them delivered to my local branch (if I had an iPhone)

@ramblinglib like bookjetty: amzn or google info, with library availability (location based) + social features PS want buUuk to build it? ;)

@ramblinglib augmented reality to tell me where the book I'm finding is.

@ramblinglib Borrow eBooks and audiobooks directly on my iPhone, and read and listen to them on my iPhone.

@ramblinglib book ratings and reviews too :)

@ramblinglib search for books available at different branches, manage account, make renewals!

Responses via Facebook:
# Chee Seng Leng: Remind me to return overdue books?? And show the fine incurred ??
18 April at 10:16

# Jessica Kingsbury Lucas: I love the one SPL came up with (warning, still in beta) through Boopsie. You can do anything on it that you can do in the catalog--even read the blogs.
18 April at 10:18

#Billy Tan: Location-awareness for nearby libraries
Event calendar
Shake for random book recommendation
Ability to identify book via camera (far-fetched, I know)
18 April at 10:28

#Muhd Firdaus: in-library gps system to help me locate the book without it being a treasure hunt
18 April at 10:40

# Jen Tan: outstanding fine, due date.
18 April at 11:24

#Felicia Chan: ASK Service (though I'll probably kick myself if this comes to pass) and the catalogue plus a bookshelf to indicate what I have read or borrowed in the past. But then again, I don't have an iphone.
18 April at 13:29

#Regina De Rozario:
Alerts: book recommendations and new arrivals by subjects I can choose.
Real-time webcam feeds of library spaces, like study lounges, reading rooms, reference areas, so we can roughly tell how busy it is and if all the tables and seats are taken up, if there are queues, etc before we make our way there. Helps to manage our expectations and time.
18 April at 13:34

#Hui Leng Lim: Online catalogue :).
18 April at 14:13

#Chon Hsing Ng: Just the usual reasons I access the NLB website - catalogue search, account services eg renewal, etc. Alerts is a must. But yes, I will definitely use the app.
18 April at 15:41

#Cindy Tan: Definately online category and reservation. ; )
18 April at 16:45

#Yeo Ching Hui: Though I am not iPhone user, but believe some book reviews would be cool, even better if NLB has apps for Blackberry.
Facebook | Ivan Chew - "To those who own iPhones..."

Feel free to add your suggestions as comments, below. Thanks!


  1. Anonymous2:40 pm

    Our library has an iphone app. I use it when I am out and want to see if we have something. For example, I went to a concert and ended up liking the opening band. I was able to look up and put on hold one of their albums while the band was still playing. That is functionality.

  2. @libraryunderworld - nice! I wonder if libraries should also show people the possibilities of using the apps...

  3. Anonymous1:37 am

    We advertised ours in various ways. I don't think we've shown people the possibilities, but most people that can download an app can figure it out. I do wish ours had a better way to search. Anything too complicated won't come up.

  4. yeah, I was wondering about the need to show people Vs letting them discover possibilities. I guess it's not so much about teaching people how to use the app (I'm sure they will know, cos if not the app has failed!). It's more of making people more aware of WHEN and WHERE they can "use the library". I like what you said -- that you placed a reservation while waiting for the concert to start. Would be really nice if more people thought of the library first.

  5. 1. User account access e.g., alerts to remind me about books due, checking of how many (and which) books I've borrowed, reservation of books

    2. Locate the books on the shelves/in the library for me (book GPS?)

    3. Booking of library facilities

    4. Preview of new books in preferred genre

    5. Recommend a new book


Join the conversation. Leave a comment :)

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.