By Siobhán Cronin
A SKIBBEREEN librarian is behind a new app for Cork libraries which has revolutionised the library experience.
Michael Plaice, who runs the IT section of the Cork library service, oversaw the development of the new app.
The library app means that you might never need to leave your home to avail of many of the library’s services – as you can now receive encyclopedias, photograph collections, e-books, magazines and audio books, direct to your phone or other e-device.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple App store and also from the Google Play android app store and allows you to search the library’s extensive catalogue; log in and check your account for your loans, reserves and other information; locate any branch library, and most importantly, access the e-books and e-audio service and listen to these items on your device.
Reference resources, such as Britannica, the Irish Newspaper Archives – including The Southern Star – the Oxford Art and Oxford Music library, are all now downloadable.
For just €2.50 a year, members can also access online digital collections such as the James N Healy, Horgan, Colm Creedon and other collections directly, and they can interact directly via the library’s social media, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
‘It is one of the first in the country, and certainly the first in this area,’ Michael said. ‘Anyone with a smartphone or other electronic device, like a tablet, can use it.’
The app, which has been several months in the making, represents incredible value for money for the annual member. It is currently only available to adult members – and accessing it is simple: once you download it to your phone, you then choose what item you wish to read, and input the barcode off your library card, and your library PIN.
While there are only single copies available of many of the electronic and audio books, there are multiple downloads available from the magazine collection. If a book you are interested in is currently in use, you can click a ‘reserve’ button to receive it later.
The magazines online include such well known titles as The Economist, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Own, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, Forbes and Hello.
‘We have only had our ebooks and audio books online for about six months, so we are still building the collection,’ explained Michael, ‘but we have a few hundred titles available.’
Among the ebooks available online are Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish For, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, Ed Sheeran’s biography, crime thrillers by Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, Kathryn Fox and more, and many popular audio books too.
The beauty of the app is that it means members now have access to the collections of all the branches in the Cork County Library service, not just their local branch. For more details, see www.corkcoco.ie/library