In the wake of budget cuts and talks of closures, the Jacksonville library system is kicking things up a notch, launching a free mobile app.
The app has been a long time coming. Jacksonville library staff have been working on it for a while, so while it wasn't the intention, they hope this new app will attract more bookworms.
It's free. You can download it to your smart phone or tablet and use the app to check if a library has the book you're looking for or check out the events at each library.
The words budget cuts and libraries seem to go really well together in Jacksonville lately as the city works through a more than $60 million budget shortfall; the city's library system being on the chopping block.
Six libraries face closures and they all are dealing with shorter hours. During this tough time, the library system is happy to announce some positive news, unveiling the brand new mobile app.
"You hear that from people that might say, 'Well, what do we need libraries for anyway,'" said Kathy Lussier, spokeswoman for Jacksonville Public Libraries. "Well, so many people I know still love to read, still want to expand their knowledge, still want to access information. Maybe I can't get to a library physically or maybe I want to go ahead and look to see if a book I'm interested in is even available at the library."
The app, called JaxLibrary, is meant to make library resources more accessible to people.
In a time where some people say technology and smart phones are taking some people out of libraries, Jacksonville library staff say this is a way of putting the resources right back in their hands.
"It's important to us to always be looking at ways to make library resources most accessible to customers," Lussier said. "And so many people are using their smart phones for everything these days, and a library is all about information, and so the app is a perfect way to use technology to put that information in the hands of our customers."
One of the most unique features of the new app is the capability of scanning any book at the store, and the app will show you which libraries around Jacksonville have that book.
The app was $13,000 to develop, but the group Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library donated money to cover the cost.