Since launching the Kansas City Public Library mobile app a couple of months ago, we’ve been hearing stories of how people are using the app in interesting ways. This doesn’t surprise us. Library patrons, after all, are the smartest people on the planet.
Now, if you don’t yet have the app, it’s available as a fast, free download for just about every smart phone and tablet PC. Search your device’s app store for kc library, or go to the device’s browser and type in kcpl.boopsie.com to download the app directly to your device.
Here are five ways our customers are using the app to enhance their Library experience.
Our friend John finds himself pulling out the app whenever he visits the bookstore. As a self-described “test driver” who uses the Library to try books before he buys 'em, John searches the Library catalog through the app and places a hold on the book to check it out later. Don't worry, bookstore owners of Kansas City: if he ends up liking the book enough to buy it, he'll be back. (Tip: You can also do this with DVDs you’re thinking about buying, such as highly coveted TV-on-DVD collections , which we check out for free.)
Whenever the highly proactive Jordan is checking her email on her phone and sees the message notifying her that her books are due, she clicks through to the app and hits “renew” on the items that are due, extending their checkout period so she doesn't get fined. Clever, Jordan!
No Library Card? No Problem.
Mandy, like many book-obsessed people, can be a bit absent-minded – even when it comes to something as important as her Library card. She loves the app because having signed in once, she doesn’t have to look for her card number to sign in again. She says this makes her more likely to renew books, thus preventing dreaded fines – and increasing her reading. (Of course, she’ll have to get her account info eventually, but she can always call Customer Service at 816.701.3422.)
Steve hasn’t read a book in six months – a physical book, that is. “Since we started reading on our phones, my wife and I probably read five times as much as we used to,” he says, between glances to the book on his phone. Naturally, he uses the app for accessing the Library’s e-books collection. E-books (and digital audiobooks) can be checked out, downloaded instantly, and read in the Overdrive Media Console  app. The e-books return automatically, too.
Lastly, whenever I would get a book or author recommendation, I used to fire up my notes app on my iPhone and punch it in. (And then likely forget to look at it ever again.) Now that we've got app, I can search the catalog and place a hold on the book – or a book by the author – on the spot. A few days later, I’ll get an email that the book’s waiting for me at Central.
Now it’s your turn: How are you using the KC Library app? Figured out a trick? Share it in the comments!
About the Author
Jason Harper  is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library. He has been tweeting , Facebooking , blogging , and YouTubing  for the Library since 2010.