Topeka’s Mobile App

Topeka has it’s first mobile library app – brought to you via the fine folks at Boopsie!

In the pic on the left, you can see the icon as it displays on my iPhone. It’s the one that’s titled “Topek….brary.” Apparently, “Topeka Library” doesn’t fit underneath the icon on an iPhone. “Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library” certainly wouldn’t fit! Oh well – not completely unheard of – I’ve seen a couple other app icon titles that do that, too.

So go ahead, download it, and play with it. There’s an iPhone, Android, and Blackberry app. Or, pretty much any phone with browser capabilities can go to and you’ll either be directed to download the appropriate app or you’ll be dumped into the web version of the app.

Either way, pretty cool stuff for us!

Here’s what we’re doing with it. Check out the screenshot at the right (larger version here) – it’s the main page of the app. When creating the main functionality of the mobile app, our thinking went like this: when would someone use our mobile phone app, and what would they want to do with it?

We decided they’d be in line at the grocery store, or picking up their child from school. Or they’d be wherever, but have maybe a couple of minutes to quickly check on something. In those scenarios, how might they want to interact with the library?

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Library Catalog: search for something, put it on hold
  • My Account: see what’s due and renew it, etc
  • Ask a Librarian: ask a question – links provided for phone, text messaging, and email questions
  • Locations & Hours: links to addresses and maps for our main building, our bookmobile stops, and our book drop locations
  • Connect with us: links to our Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr accounts
  • What’s missing? We wanted to know what our patrons wanted this app to do that wasn’t there yet, so we provided an easy way for them to tell us – it’s a simple form that sends an email to me.

What do our customers want to do that we’re not yet providing?

  • paying fines from their phones
  • checking out our calendar of events
  • checking out movies from our Mediabank DVD dispenser (it’s a separate catalog)

Otherwise, everyone that we’ve heard from has liked the app – we’re getting comments like “so cool! I already think we have the best library and then u show us just another reason to love @topekalibrary.”

Not bad at all!