Academic and public libraries are jumping on the mobile bandwagon by offering mobile versions of their websites, catalogs, reference services, etc. Now, thanks to the newly launched BookCheck, libraries have the option of allowing patrons to checkout materials using their own mobile device. Boopsie, the maker of BookCheck, is the leading mobile solution provider for universities and libraries, and is the first, and so far only provider, to offer mobile checkout capabilities. Boopsie applications are designed to work on any device and any platform. BookCheck is already available for Android devices, with support for iPhone and Blackberry devices coming quickly.
Historically, libraries have existed to promote access to information, to intellectual and cultural resources. The development of BookCheck reveals the fact that libraries are increasingly looking for creative ways to offer customers access to those goods. While the concept of self-checkout itself is not new to libraries (RFID technology has made self-check kiosks a common feature in libraries across the country), the idea that a patron can pick a book off the shelf, scan the barcode with their mobile phone or device, and check the book out on the spot, is revolutionary.
In addition to being able to check materials out themselves, the scan of a barcode also lets customers instantly access basic catalog information, as well as third party content like book reviews, plot summaries and author bios. Boopsie applications offer real-time ILS integration with popular systems such as Innovative Interfaces, SirsiDynix, and ExLibris. They also provide full support for services such as GPS-aware library location finder and access to reading lists, event calendars and social networking channels.
Boopsie BookCheck is being introduced at the the top rated library system in the United States. Cuyahoga County Public Library has already made the service available to its 787,000 active registered cardholders. “We are very excited to be the first library to offer the convenience of mobile check-out to our customers,” said Jim Haprian, Information Technology Director of Cuyahoga County Public Library. “At CCPL we are committed to innovative service that meets and exceeds expectations and this app will help us better connect our customers to the excellent resources we have to offer.”
Libraries have had a long tradition of respecting individuals’ need for free access to information, intellectual freedom, and a right to privacy in their search for information. Mobile checkout and other mobile tools hold promise for helping libraries uphold that tradition, especially in a society which has grown accustomed to having what it wants at its fingertips. Not only do the the mobile tools offered by Boopsie and BookCheck lighten the workload of over-stretched library staff, but they empower patrons to explore, discover, and access information they want on their own terms.