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Thousands downloading, using library's smartphone app

Allen County Public Library officials suspected their app for smart phones would be popular, but ACPL Mobile is growing far beyond expectations.

Library officials said Thursday the free app has been downloaded 17,000 times since it was launched in 2012. And those who download it are using it. A lot.

More than 23 percent of the holds placed on books during December were done through ACPL Mobile. At least 30 percent of the renewals performed in December were through the app.

"The numbers have been increasing every month since it was introduced," Library Director Jeff Krull told the board Thursday.

Board President Martin Seifert, who was elected to the post Thursday to replace Gloria Shamanoff, whose term as president had ended, said the app works so well it could be a money maker for the library.

"Have we looked into licensing it and selling it?" Seifert said. "It's fantastic. It's one of the easiest things to use on my phone."

Users who have downloaded it from iTunes agree, with one user – N7 Geek Girl – titling her 5-star review, "Seriously, it's perfect."

Krull said the app was developed in-house after outside firms wanted too much money.

Of course, Krull has a personal stake in the app being easy to use.

"I'm sort of known for checking out DVDs and forgetting to bring them back," Krull said. "Which is ridiculous because I'm here every day."

The problem, he said, is he tends to check out DVDs his wife hates – so they never get watched, and hence he forgets to return them.

But now, he said, whenever he sees the music and movie department, "without breaking my stride" he can take out his phone and renew the terrible movies he has yet to return. "I've saved myself a lot of money in overdue fines, but it may be a revenue loss for us," he said.

dstockman@jg.net

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