Update, May 4: YCL Mobile is now live on all platforms, including the Apple store!
By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
York County Libraries (YCL) is getting ready to unveil a new mobile app May 1 that will provide cardholders with convenient access to library services on iOS and Android smartphones and other compatible devices. The beauty of the app is that you can use the library anywhere you are, 24/7.
“York countians are mobile consumers,” said Lora-Lynn Kahler, director of technology integration for the York County Libraries System. “So we need to be on people’s handhelds and tablets, within easy reach at any time. This kind of exploration was not possible before smartphones.”
YCL Mobile, which has been in the works since late 2012, has a variety of features that make it very useful both remotely and at our brick and mortar libraries.
For example, say you are at a friend’s house, and he shows you a book he is reading that he just can’t put down. You would love to read it, too. And there’s no way you’ll be able to pry it from your friend’s hands long enough to get it out of the house! So you are curious as to whether or not the library has that book — after all, friendship comes first.
All you need to do is pull up the BookLook feature of the app and position your phone a few inches above the book’s ISBN number. It reads the number and in a few seconds you’ll know whether or not York County Libraries owns that title. If we do, you can see which locations have it, reserve the book on the spot and designate the library location where you would like to pick it up. It is quick and easy.
Another feature I love is CoverCake because, chances are, there have been times you’ve heard what sounds like a really interesting book mentioned on a radio show like NPR’s “All Things Considered” or on a television show such as ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
I always think I’ll remember the title, but I don’t, and often by the time I finally go to a show website, the content has changed.
With CoverCake, you can jump on our app, select a major media program like “60 Minutes” and see the titles that were mentioned over the last several months. Better yet, you can easily find out whether or not the libraries own them. And yes, you guessed it… you can request the book right at that moment.
There are lots of ways to use YCL Mobile wherever you are, but I was curious as to how this new app would work inside a library. So I went to one of our locations and as I started heading toward the nonfiction section, I pulled up the app’s catalog search and plugged in the word “vegan.”
Back came several results, and I scrolled down and selected Roberto Martin’s book “Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.” I could see that it was checked in and that its Dewey number is 641.563 MAR. The real plus is that I didn’t have to write the number down or even try to remember it. I referred to the number in the app as I scanned the shelves.
Generally what happens is that I get so interested in all of the books around the title I want that I totally forget the number, and occasionally even the name!
When I was ready to go, I didn’t go to the circulation desk. Instead, I used the mobile checkout feature called BookCheck to check out the books to my library card. It was quick and easy, and now I am keeping track of when my book is due through the app’s My Account feature.
YCL Mobile highlights
- Check your account, search, reserve and renew items
- Find library events, hours and locations
- Get one-click access to York County Libraries e-books and e-audios
- Go on a mobile book hunt using BookLook. Scan an ISBN number and, if YCL has it, instantly reserve it
- Use CoverCake to discover books mentioned on TV and radio
- Check out your books at the library using your mobile device
Get the app
Beginning May 1 there are two quick ways to get YCL Mobile. Snap a photo of the QR code at right with your smartphone or tablet, or visit www.yorklibraries.org/ycl-mobile using the mobile web browser on your device.