Seattle Public Library was one of just a handful of what were deemed five star libraries, finishing with the fifth highest score in their expenditure range. What do so many elite five star libraries have in common? Their Boopsie mobile app!
The Seattle Public Library uses their ‘SPL Mobile’ Boopsie app to unite the communities they serve and bring the library to patrons at the palm of their hand. With almost thirty branches serving patrons all over the Seattle area, the SPL Mobile app plays an integral role in delivering the best experience possible to patrons. Just one tap on any major smartphone or tablet allows them to access their library account, search the library’s catalog, download digital books and media, and view special collections online. With an average of 13,741 users accessing the Seattle Public Library per month last year, there is no doubt that patrons love connecting with their library on their mobile devices.
Their app also integrates innovative BookLook technology, which allows their patrons to scan the ISBN barcode of a book anywhere in the world and check it against the library’s holdings. If the library has the title, the patron can place the book on hold. If the title is not currently offered at the library, the patron can request that the library purchase it, which is great feedback for collection development! This saves patrons the time and money of looking for a book in a bookstore if the library already has it available.
When searching for items in the catalog, patrons of the Seattle Public Library need only enter the first few letters of each search term thanks to the app’s Smart Prefix proprietary search functionality. This means that when a patron is searching for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, they can save time by typing in “ha pot g”, for example. The library knows better than anyone that saving patrons time will make them more likely to engage with the library in the future and will drive circulation and usage. This quick, intuitive way of searching has helped bring over 1.32 million visits to the app’s catalog channel since January of 2015.
The SPL app provides the library’s calendar of events, Ask a Librarian chat or call functionality, parses out the library branch locations, and enables patrons to get directions to any of these branches from a patron’s current location. All of these features facilitate easy interaction between patrons and their library. The app also aggregates all of the library’s social media sites, library blogs and podcasts, and lists of new and recommended books, DVDs, and CDs. Their blogs and podcasts allow them to target different demographics within the local community which plays a key role in keeping patrons engaged.
It’s clear that the Seattle Public Library does a great job of meeting the needs of its patrons and generating excitement about the library, which is reflected in the high praise it has received. The SPL Mobile app has earned a four star rating in the Google Play App Store with over 200 users taking the time to review the app. Boopsie looks forward to continuing the productive and rewarding relationship that they’ve had with the Seattle Public Library for many years to come!