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Milwaukee County library system releases new catalog app for mobile devices

Boopsie contracted by system to develop app

Feb. 20, 2013

The Milwaukee County Federated Library System this week unveiled an app that will allow mobile phones to access the library catalog.

The CountyCat Mobile app allows users of all handheld phones to check the catalog, place books on hold, find locations and hours of member libraries, download ebooks and audiobooks, find out if the library system has a book by scanning its ISBN barcode and more, said Jim Gingery, director of the library system.

Access to the mobile app is at m.mcfls.org.

The library system is made up of 15 Milwaukee County libraries, including the Wauwatosa Public Library.

The system contracted with Boopsie Inc. to create the app. Boopsie has done similar work for more than 250 libraries and universities, according to a MCFLS press release. The app cost an implementation fee of about $5,600, paid for by the system, plus a subscription fee of $14,800 a year, divided among the member libraries, based on population, with the Milwaukee Public Library paying half of the total. The Wauwatosa portion of the fee is $925 a year.

"What they're able to do is create basically an app for every device out there that you can imagine," said Steve Heser, library systems administrator. "If there's an app that can't be used on a device, they'll develop one for that.

"The biggest concern we had was reaching people with as many devices as are out there," Heser continued.

Boopsie gets regular updates of the catalog, which is constantly changing as new books and other resources are added, Heser said. One button on the app, in fact, accesses new materials, a feature Heser insisted on.

Boopsie "understands how libraries work, which was the biggest thing," Heser said.

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