As we head into New Technology Season, here are some apps that will improve your library experience, help you access library resources, and better keep track of your reading!
The West Bend Community Memorial Library is part of the Monarch Library System, which developed and maintains the Monarch2Go app. Log in with your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number) to access your account. See what you have checked out, check due dates, renew items, place requests, and find out about upcoming library events.
A hidden benefit of Monarch2Go is that, once you’re logged in, you can click on “Account Info” to see when your account expires and has to be renewed. You can also access your barcode, which you can use to check out books if you don’t have your library card with you! Just pull out your phone, open the app, and present it at the circulation desk.
Libby is a great resource for ebooks and eaudiobooks. It takes just a few taps to find and borrow a title. You can read ebooks and listen to audiobooks right in the app! The viewing and listening experiences are highly customizable, letting you adjust font size and playback speed. Libby allows you to use multiple library cards, so you can easily manage the whole family’s checkouts. There are a couple of special formats, such as zoomable graphic novels, and picture book with read-along audio With Libby, you can download books and audiobooks for offline reading, or stream them to save space. If you prefer reading on your Kindle, Libby can send your library books to your device with ease. If you use Libby on multiple devices, your positions, bookmarks, and notes will sync up; plus, you can keep track of your reading history in the Activity tab. To sample any book, just tap — there’s nothing to download or delete. A great thing about these digital checkouts is they’re never overdue! They just disappear off your account on the due date (unless you return them early). If you’re not finished, you can request the item again, and Libby will remember where you left off.
Monarch Library System users can access digital magazines and even more digital audiobooks through RBDigital. It’s really nice to be able to read magazines without them piling up around the house, or checking out physical copies and having to remember to return them or worry about damaging them. Many of the audiobooks available through RBDigital are not available on Libby, so it’s nice to have a wider variety of titles. Plus, many RBDigital audiobooks are always available, with little or no waiting. If you’re on the go, simply download issues or books to your phone!
Pronunciator provides customized instruction in over 100 different languages, including American Sign Language and English as a second language. Developed by language teachers, you can personalize your learning experience to match your personal interests, occupation, learning goals, skill level, age, schedule and motivation. With 1,000,000+ instructional phrases, 16,000 language combinations, 400 calendar years of audio lessons, and actual human voices, Pronunciator has content for all ages and skill levels. Their American Sign Language course is also the largest available, with 20,000 instructional videos. Pronunciator also offers feature films with integrated drills and quizzes; video phrases where you can see the native speaker clearly speaking each instructional phrase (just like when babies start learning their first language); over 3 million hours (that’s 342 calendar years) of downloadable audio lessons; major label music with lyrics; video city tours; and so much more. Whether you’re planning a trip, looking to broaden your horizons, or teaching your kids to communicate with their relatives, Pronunciator has something for you!
The Goodreads website has been around since 2007, and over two billion books are listed on the platform. Use this app to track the books you're reading, have read, and want to read. Custom lists are a great feature of Goodreads; I use it to make note of what books I got from the library, which books (and editions of books) I own, personal favorites, books to recommend to people who ask me what to read next after Percy Jackson, etc. You can add friends on Goodreads to see what they’re reading, and to send them individualized recommendations. Plus, Goodreads is a great resource to find out what to read next; their algorithm will personalize suggestions for you, based on what you’ve read and how you’ve rated it. Goodreads is also a great resource to find out if a book is a good fit for you or the kids in your life, based on the community’s reviews. You can follow authors for the latest news on their upcoming books, and even enter giveaways for free stuff! The website has more features, but one great perk of the app is the ability to scan a book’s barcode – whether you’re at the library, a friend’s house, or a bookstore – and instantly add it to your lists. Goodreads lets you set a reading goal at the beginning of the year, and then at the end of the year gives you a great wrap-up of everything you’ve read.