Waimakariri District Libraries: First NZ Library To Launch App

Pat Mock, Reference Team Leader of Waimakariri District Libraries graciously agreed to share how they’ve “dared to do different” by being the first library in New Zealand to use the LibAnywhere app.

Congratulations on being the first library in New Zealand to use Library Anywhere (LibAnywhere). What prompted you to set up an app for Waimakariri District Libraries?
Matthew Hunter from Thorpe-Bowker who are the reps for LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) visited us late last year (our library uses their catalogue and reviews enhancement) and demonstrated the new app which they had just developed. We thought: Yep, very cool, let’s do it! So we did. One of the good things about smaller library systems is that those kind of decisions are easier to make.

What’s great about the LibAnywhere app?
You can’t use the normal view of the online catalogue on your iPhone/ iPod touch etc because it hasn’t been optimised for use on mobile devices. Observation shows increasing numbers of people (especially young people) using these devices on our free wifi in the library, so having this means we can promote using the online catalogue and related functions to those users.

How did you go about making it work with your catalogue?
LTFL supplied instructions, and Jan our online editor figured it out. LTFL were very helpful if we needed it.

Was it easier than you thought it would be?
Yes, luckily, since we don’t have brilliant expertise in this stuff!

How have your customers reacted to LibAnywhere?
We’ve only had it going for a few days, and haven’t done much promotion yet, but those we’ve shown it to are impressed that we have something so cool. Lots of these users are young people, so it busts that stereotype of libraries being fusty and old-fashioned.

What advice would you give other libraries who want to do something similar?
It was easy. Don’t be put-off by not knowing much about it, we didn’t either.

What’s next for Waimakariri District Libraries?
The earthquake last year took out our library at Kaiapoi, so we have a major rebuild happening there soon. Plans are still under discussion, but I hope that it will be an opportunity to try all sorts of new things. We are also between managers at the moment, so future directions are a bit of a question mark.

For me, I have just finished the Frontline reader centred course (online from Britain), which has enthused and inspired me to do things for all those customers whose purpose in coming to the library is still to find something good to read. They are our core business and it’s essential we don’t overlook them. The course has left me with lots of ideas I want to try out.

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LibraryThing for Libraries enriches your library’s online catalogue with the power and fun of Web 2.0. With LTFL in your catalogue, your patrons can browse, search and engage with your libraries’ holdings in a new, powerful and engaging way.

There are eight libraries in New Zealand who use LibraryThing for Libraries.

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