Put the local library in your pocket

by Tim McLain

LibraryAnywhere is a free app that offers access to local library catalogs via your Android (or iPhone) device. The app makes it super-easy to search local library catalogs of holdings, view records, check and place holds on specific items, see what you've checked out, renew items, view fines, and more.

Plus, the app guides you to local branches using your phone's GPS.

All enrolled libraries can also tweak their listings in the service, adding a logo, hours of operation, virtual shelf navigation, special event information and more. Links to Facebook pages, library web pages, and other online outreach channels (think: blogs, "ask a librarian" services, text chat channels, etc.) can be embedded for patron access. If your local library has installed LibraryThing for Libraries, you'll be able to tap into integrated tags, access more than 500,000 reviews, and view recommendations related to each item and notes about other editions.

If you're a frequent library visitor, be sure to grab this app, and encourage your local branches to get LibraryThing for Libraries up and running on their servers.

It's a 21st century upgrade that all cash-strapped libraries should make to stay relevant and accessible in the age of the smartphone.