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  • June 2012
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Teen Review: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s New Mobile App

Hi! I’m Adam, and despite being a senior at Central Catholic I try to find time to do anything and everything. I will read any kind of book I can get my hands on and even though my reading list is currently a million books long I will finish it someday. Maybe. If it weren’t for the fact that I add something new to it literally every day…

A review of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s new mobile app

We all know that feeling—you’re in the darkest depths of the library, not a computer in sight, and you forgot to write down the number for the book you want. You try to find it on the library website but your phone’s browser makes the website look more like a Jackson Pollack painting than a website and your internet is slow enough to be painting one.

Thankfully there is now one quick, easy solution to all of your problems: the Library App, now available from your iPhone or Android’s app store. You will not be sorry for the download: the app contains everything you could want for a visit to the library into a simple, linear display with no unnecessary bells or whistles. This ease of accessibility makes it an infinitely useless tool to use when you’re scrambling to hold on to books you already have, find a new book, and use your phone (as I was the other day when I discovered thanks to the app that someone had checked an extremely obscure book out that as of only two hours earlier been available—but that’s another post for another day).

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s new mobile app – by Boopsie

The app has seven feature categories (Catalog, My Account, eCLP, Hours and Locations, Ask a librarian, Events, and BookLook) and two social networking links (Facebook and Twitter). Each of the seven features is both extremely useful and well designed, continuing the theme of simplicity through all aspects of the app.

One thing I was concerned about was whether or not the My Account feature would remain signed into your account even after you haven’t used it in a while; however, so far, it seems like it does indeed remain signed in.

The eCLP feature lets you download eBooks and eAudioBooks directly to your phone, removing the potential hassle of transferring from your computer to your phone if you are an on-the-go reader.

Hours and Locations not only tells you where libraries are or when they open, but when you open the feature it sorts the list of libraries by closeness to your current location by using your phone’s GPS (strangely enough, and one of the few problems I have with the app, is that the Events category does not also sort the libraries by relative closeness).

Finally, a very welcome feature is the BookLook scanner: suppose you are in a bookstore and have a very expensive book. You don’t want to pay so much and want to see if the library has it. Instead of fumbling around with the library mobile website, just open the BookLook feature and the app will use your phone’s camera to scan the ISBN number of the book and then look it up on the catalog. This feature in particular is very welcome and extremely useful.

So, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s fulfills all your library needs in one small and simple app (only 2.01 MB if you are concerned about phone space). It is certainly worthy of the five star rating it currently maintains on both the Android app store and iTunes.

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