When we think of “technology,” we tend to imagine machines, wires, and the devices we use to text, send emails, and make videos. It’s easy to forget that familiar things like bound books and typeset print were once cutting-edge technology too. Technological innovations in printmaking and bookmaking throughout history enhanced the spread of information, with each new advancement leading to further inventions and new possibilities. Technology is often viewed as a threat to libraries. Yet as technology has changed, it’s become clear that technology and libraries don’t compete against each other…they complement each other. From microfilm machines to computers to ebooks, libraries adapt to changes in how people find and use information, fulfilling their mission of helping others access information, in whichever form that takes. Libraries and library staff use technology to serve their communities better and help others navigate the digital world, such as offering access to WiFi and assisting people in finding information online.
This month, the libraries in Jefferson and Waukesha counties debuted another technological innovation to make your access to the library quick, easy, and efficient. Introducing….our new mobile app. That’s right, your library is now right on your phone or device. With the app, you can easily search for library materials in the library’s shared CAFE catalog and put items on hold. Your library account is also right in the app, so you’re able to renew materials, check to see if your holds have come in, and pay your fines. The app even has a digital copy of your library card on it, so you never have to worry about losing your card again. Have family members with cards? You can add multiple accounts so you can keep track of everyone’s cards in one spot. Finally, the app connects you to your library, so you can search upcoming library events, get directions to your library, check the library’s hours, and more.
The app launched on April 1 and it’s been exciting to hear what library users think of it so far. One patron shared, “I put it to the test by searching for a book that doesn’t come out until next month. I found it on order in the system and was able to put a hold on it already!” “I love having my barcode on my phone,” one user commented, while another stated simply, “The new app is awesome!”
Ready to try the new library app? Pull out your phone or device and search for “Bridges Libraries CAFÉ Mobile” in the Apple or Android app store. The app is free to download; all you need is a library card from one of the public libraries in Jefferson and Waukesha counties. You can also find download links, an introductory video, and a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions on our website at www.bridgeslibrarysystem.org/cafe-libraries-app. We hope you enjoy this new way of using your library.