by Kara Logsden on November 18th, 2014
This week we rolled out new Self Checkout machines. The six new Self Checkout stations may be found on the First Floor near the entrance and in the Children’s Room and on the Second Floor near the Reference Desk.
This project is a culmination of months of behind the scenes work by Library staff and completes a Strategic Plan goal to “Upgrade checkout equipment to provide more efficient service.”
Highlights of the new equipment include a bigger, more responsive screen and new DVD Unlockers that give a GREEN LIGHT indication when the DVD has been unlocked. They also feature new credit card payment terminals that are easy to use and assure PCI Compliance for transactions.
A new feature is a “smart” barcode reader that reads barcodes on smart phone screens. We’ve received many requests for this feature and know our patrons will appreciate this enhancement. The scanner works with pictures of Library Cards on the smart phones or through barcodes generated by third-party apps such as CardStar.
Another option in response to patron requests is the ability to choose no receipt, a printed receipt, or an eMail receipt. We can only send an eMail receipt if we have a valid eMail address in the patron’s record. If you wish to add an eMail address to your account, please give us a call or stop by the Help Desk.
As with many technology upgrades we are still working through a couple issues. The Self Checkout software is not communicating with our system to give information about holds in the queue. Patrons will be notified when a hold is ready for pickup but at this time we are unable to show holds at the Self Checkout stations. If you need help with holds, please go to a public service desk.
Nearly 70% of our checkouts run through the Library’s Self Checkout stations so it is a critical tool for us to serve our community. We are delighted with the new product and the improvements the technology brings. While we offer the option of Self Checkout, please remember staff are just a couple steps away if you need help or prefer for staff to check out materials for you.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 5th, 2014
Thinking about purchasing an eReader or Tablet for the holidays? The Iowa City Public Library would like to help you understand some of the differences between the most popular devices out there.
A Library’s technology specialist will talk about the differences between eReaders and tablets at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22; 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25; 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5; and 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Attend a session to learn more about what each of the major brands offer consumers and which of these brands work best with the Library’s eMedia collections Overdrive and Zinio. After each presentation, a handful of devices will be available for participants to try out.
All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit www.icpl.org/classes to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 18th, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library’s redesigned website is live, with features designed to improve user experience, especially for patrons using Smartphones and tablets.
“Part of our long-term strategic plan was to make improvements to the Website that’s easier to navigate from both a desktop computer and mobile devices,” says Brent Palmer, the Library’s Information Technology Coordinator. “We also wanted to make our website more dynamic.”
To meet the first goal, “responsive design” elements were incorporated into the webpage infrastructure to assure an optimal viewing experience. The website is now easier to use on all equipment including smart phones, tablets and desktop computers. The content automatically adjusts based on the screen size of the user’s equipment, making site navigation easier and more appealing.
To meet the second goal, Library staff identified content, created by staff members, patrons would be interested in, including the new 123 South Linn Library Blog, which contains book recommendations from staff, and program information listed in the Library’s online calendar. Then staff identified existing webpages where the staff-created content would augment the information presented.
Infrastructure was created so the webpage dynamically pulls information into correlating webpages, bringing together a hybrid of information for our patrons. One example is the “Books” webpage at www.icpl.org/books. In addition to standard information about loan periods and online book-related resources, users may now explore books recently added to the collection and book reviews written by staff.
The launch of the new design is the culmination of a year’s work by the Library’s IT staff.
“We look forward to sharing the redesigned webpage with our community and continuing to explore ways to improve our user’s online experience,” Palmer says.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 5th, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library’s Koza Family Teen Center will have new Tech Time Hours this summer.
Beginning Monday, June 9, the new Tech Hours will be 12:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday. During Tech Hours, teens in grades seventh through 12th can play video games on the big screen, check out iPads and laptops.
Students who will enter the seventh grade this fall can use the Koza Family Teen Center.
For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 3rd, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library wants to help you relax with a good book this summer by helping you connect your smartphone and tablets to our e-resources. The library’s e-resources include electronic books, audiobooks, and more; all are available for download.
Want to learn how to access the library’s e-media for your specific device? Come to one of the classes for adults this June that will help you learn how to use the Overdrive software to find and download items from the Library’s e-media collection.
If you have an Android device, join us Tuesday, June 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. or Friday, June 20, from 6 to 7 p.m. for eMedia for Android Devices.
eMedia for Apple Devices classes will be held on Friday, June 13, from 10 to 11 a.m. while the eMedia for Kindle Devices class will be on Friday, June 13, from 10 to 11 a.m.
Participants are asked to bring a valid Iowa City or Coralville Public Library card.
All classes for adults are held in the Computer Lab on the Library’s second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early. Visit www.icpl.org/classes to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.
Participants should also be aware that in order to download e-media from the library they need to be an Iowa City or Coralville resident or are a resident in rural Johnson County, Hills, University Heights, and Lone Tree.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library’s introduced its newest piece of technology – an interactive touch table described as a table-sized iPad – to its youngest patrons today.
“The Ideum PLATFORM 55 is the final piece of the Children’s Room technology update,” Information Technology Coordinator Brent Palmer says. “It is an exciting piece of technology, but there isn’t that much ready-made software that would take advantage of its features.”
Palmer has contacted local software developers and student groups to build custom applications for ages six through 12 that are multi-touch, multi-player, and easy to operate. The vision for this table is that it will foster collaborative fun and exploration.
“On one level, the table will bring kids together in the Children’s Room but on another level, it will bring the community together as we determine what people want this technology to do,” Palmer says.
University of Iowa’s EPX Studio and indie developer Virtually Competent have already produced prototypes of custom apps for the table. Palmer is facilitating partnerships with groups and individuals, including a possible Hackathon with Iowa Tech Chicks and the Library’s CoderDojo group later this summer.
If you have an idea or want to help build something for the table, contact Brent Palmer at email@example.com.