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Friday, November 09, 2012 5:42 PM

Library app puts check out in students’ hands

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer

Aaron Miller took out his iPad on a recent fall afternoon in his Algebra 2 class and clicked on Destiny Quest.

The Ottawa High School junior wasn’t secretly trying to access a game.

Destiny Quest is the OHS library’s online application that allows students to reserve library books from their phones and tablets, Sheryl Servatius-Brown, OHS librarian/media specialist, said.

The application, Miller said, allows him to reserve a book at any time and from any location — wherever wireless access is available.

“It’s really nice, because I can reserve a book without having to be in the library,” Miller said. “I can reserve it in the evening and pick it up the next morning.”

The OHS junior’s use of Destiny Quest is one example of how the online application is being used as more students seem to be taking advantage of it, Servatius-Brown said.

“We introduced it last spring, but we’ve really been talking it up this fall,” Servatius-Brown said. “The app can be used on phones and tablets — iPhones, iPads and Droids.”

The media specialist, in her seventh year as the school’s librarian, said the application’s use is continuing to multiply.

“Students used to reserve one or two books a week with it,” she said. “Now, it’s not uncommon to come in each morning and find four or five books reserved [through the application].”

The application has proven valuable to students at all hours of the day, she said.

“You know how students like to do homework at 2 in the morning?” Servatius-Brown said, laughing. “They will be working on their homework and realize they need a book. The nice part about this app is they can log in wherever they are and look to see what books we have in and what books are out. Then they can reserve the book they need and pick it up in the morning.”

Students are issued a login to access the online library application, Servatius-Brown said.

“I’ve seen a lot of books put on hold [for students], which is very cool,” she said. “The nice thing about using it on an iPad is that you can make lists of books you want to read or a list of books you need for an assignment.”

A student might need several books for an English assignment throughout the semester, for example, and the student could make the list on an iPad in September and then reserve the book through the library online application when the book is needed in November, Servatius-Brown said.

“The nice thing about making the list is they know all the books they’ll need, so later in the year they aren’t saying to themselves, ‘Now, what book was it I needed?’” she said.

Starting sometime after Thanksgiving, Servatius-Brown said, she will have five Nook tablets available for students to check out.

“The Nooks have tons and tons of books on them,” she said.

Books, whether delivered in an electronic format or the conventional bound form, are coveted by high school students, Servatius-Brown said, whether they are being read for leisure or for a class assignment.

“I hear people say that high school students don’t read books, and that’s just not true,” Servatius-Brown said. “They read all the time.”

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at dcarder@ottawaherald.com

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