Browsing library catalogue a breeze with phone app

SINGAPORE - Borrowing books from the library will become easier from next year when the National Library Board (NLB) rolls out a new smartphone app.

It will allow users to scan the barcodes on library items and obtain information on the books or a listing of similar resources. They can also scan a borrowed item to find out its due date and renew it, if they wish.

NLB is introducing the new technology to cater to a growing number of Singaporeans who "prefer to access information and perform transactions on the go", a spokesman said.

The app is also part of its efforts to enhance customer experience at the library, she added.

It was showcased at the World Library and Information Congress trade exhibition, which ends on Wednesday.

If a book not belonging to the library's catalogue is scanned, the app will search for the item in NLB's Singapore collection and recommend related titles.

The app also displays what titles are available, recommends books based on a user's loan history and has an option to save multiple profiles for families who wish to manage more than one library account.

"Recommending books based on one's loan history would definitely be useful for readers to generate long-term interest in a topic," said library user Sarah Wong, 26, an analyst in a medical technology company.

"The option to scan barcodes and find out due dates is convenient," she added, though she hopes the system can also automatically alert users about due dates.

Another app function, MyLibrary, lets users set their preferred library branch location, view their search history and manage titles in their personal accounts. NLB hopes to roll out the app in both iPhone and Android versions next year.

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