Ever find yourself digging through your purse in search of your library card only to discover that you left your wallet in the car? How about fumbling with your keys to see which one of the mini-cards is right? If that sounds like you, read on because Darien Library has just made your life a little easier.
You now can use your smartphone at the self-check-out instead of your library card.
"We're always trying to think of ways to make using the library more convenient. Everybody's really busy, so whatever we can do to keep your wait time down is what we strive for," Gretchen Caserotti, assistant director for public services, said.
Amanda Goodman, user experience librarian, explained that two apps are available for download that can be used at the self-check-out, and both are free.
"You can download Cardstar or Key Ring, and setting it up is really easy," Goodman said. "You just click to add Darien Library as your library, and then click add a card, type in your card, and you're all set. And we actually just found out that Cardstar lets you have more than one card listed."
"That's really cool," Silka Cortez, a 23-year-old first-time Darien Library user, said after she checked out using her smartphone.
While the app is convenient for readers, it doesn't affect the library staff as far as lightening the load.
"It really is all about the patrons," Caserotti said, adding that the staff tries to do all it can to make using the library easier for the people of Darien. Other local towns, like New Canaan, have adopted a similar card system.
The Darien library recently upgraded its entire scanning system, configuring the self-check-out scanners to read smartphone bar codes was a simple step in the process. Before the upgrade, the scanner would simply reflect up off the phone and not actually read the card.
"We've been wanting to be able to do this for a really long time," Caserotti said. "I mean, we may leave our wallets or keys in the car, if your car doesn't require keys to get in, but I don't know anyone who is able to leave their smartphone. You always have it, it's always there. Technology is really helpful and it makes things much easier."
Several people have come in and used the app, according to Caserotti, and she anticipates that it will really catch on.
"We think moms in this town especially will be appreciative of the app. It's one less thing they have to worry about between whose card is whose and `do I have my keys'?" Caserotti said laughing.
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