A Wealth of Resources for an Impoverished Community
Demco Software today released a case study that reveals what drove Reading Public Library to launch a customized mobile app. As the leading mobile platform-as-a-service provider for libraries worldwide has seen with its other public library partners, the ever-rising increase in smartphone ownership has led to a demand for library services to expand onto mobile platforms. This trend extends beyond wealthy households as the Census Bureau reports that 80.9% of those living below poverty level have cell phones.
As one of the most impoverished cities in the country, Reading, PA is unique in that the services and resources its library provides are in many cases the only affordable education and entertainment options for its 88,000 residents. Reading Public Library took this into account and decided to launch a user-friendly mobile app for the many citizens who own a smartphone and may lack transportation to the library’s physical branches.
The app, which launched in July 2016, provides easy access to the library’s catalog and e-resources as well as their event calendar, locations and my account. Additional app features such as BookLook™ and Barcode Wallet were uniquely developed to give patrons even more reasons to love their library and the app that makes its services just one click away.
Simply offering everything from mindPOP programming – stimulating programs aimed at personal and professional development for adults of all ages – to bilingual storytime events is just a start. Perhaps more important is ensuring the community is aware of the wealth of resources available for free at their local library.
“Our mobile app allows us to be much more connected to our patrons, particularly when our buildings are closed. With the app, we can be ‘open’ 24/7, there for our community whenever and wherever they need us,” shared Bronwen Gamble, Director of the Reading Public Library.
The mobile app has become the way that younger community members access the library to place holds and keep track of their accounts. “Those that may have been intimidated by the library or see libraries as irrelevant realize that we have a lot to offer and most importantly, that we’re committed to keeping pace with digital mobile technology,” added Gamble.
The app launched in July 2016 and the library started to promote it publicly in August. A little over 2 months after its launch, the app has had over 600 monthly downloads, 250 monthly unique users and over 12,500 daily queries with the vast majority of those users taking advantage of the catalog and patron account features.
“A full 40.5% of Reading citizens live below the federal poverty line,” says Mary Casey, Marketing Manager at Demco Software. “These are the people who need the wealth of resources offered through their public library the most and this is the type of library that needs a solution that will make a difference in people’s lives. We’re excited for this chance to help the library make a positive impact and look forward to continuing to help Reading increase the value it offers its community.”
In the time since this article was first published, Demco Software has taken over product development and ownership of the mobile apps and customers formerly owned by Boopsie, Inc. Subscribe to our email list to receive updates as we continue to evolve the suite of engagement tools we offer libraries.