Champaign Public Library Introduces CPL Mobile App and Mobile Checkout

A new, free app offers Champaign Public Library patrons on-the-go access to the library services they use most, plus new features that can speed checkout, save money and bring library eBooks a few clicks closer. 

The new CPL Mobile app gives patrons an elegantly simple way to use a cell phone or Wi-Fi enabled mobile device to renew or request items and search the library catalog. App users can see upcoming events, ask a question or check library hours. 

But the app also makes the most of the unique abilities of a mobile device. A mobile checkout option turns a cell phone camera into a barcode scanner. At the Main Library, patrons can scan the Champaign Public Library barcode on items as they pull them from the shelves, including items on hold. Checkout is completed with a brief, self-service stop at a new mobile checkout station, near the checkout desk.

A related feature helps patrons see if books can be borrowed rather than purchased. The app’s ISBN barcode scanner can scan any book at a bookstore or elsewhere, then check to see if it’s available at the library. If it is, patrons can use their device to request the item on the spot. 

Based on a template developed by Boopsie, Inc., the CPL Mobile app is available at http://champaign.boopsie.com. Patrons with iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices can find it in their app store. 

CPL Mobile also makes the library’s existing downloadable eBook service easier to use. “With the app, it takes fewer clicks to find and download a particular Overdrive eBook or audiobook from My Media Mall,” explained Kristina Hoerner, the library’s adult services manager. To enable this option, patrons first need to download the free Overdrive app or software, depending on their device. Details are at http://www.champaign.org/downloadables

Boopsie’s library app is used by more than 300 public and academic libraries in the United States and beyond. For Champaign, it was a cost-effective alternative to developing a mobile website. 

“Mobile devices are the primary means of Internet access for many people now, so it was essential for us to make mobile access easy,” Hoerner explained. “The app not only offers key library services; it also gives patrons enhanced abilities they wouldn’t get with a mobile website.” 

For more information, contact the library at librarian@champaign.org or by calling 217/403-2070.