New York Public Library has moved the SimplyE app from Beta into public use. It can now be downloaded from the iStore or Google Playstore. As of the first day, 3,000 users have adopted the app and it is working without a hitch.
This is big news for people other than those fortunate enough to have an NYPL library card. NYPL is interested in increased use of the app and is working with other groups to see it implemented. It may help groups or libraries without IT development staff by adoption and hosting. In a few years, as part of the LEAP initiative implementation, Minitex MAY (this is very conditional but they are hoping) may also be able to help others with development. In addition to Minitex, a number of consortiums or libraries are moving towards implementation, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Califa, Georgia Libraries, and RAILS. Over 1,000 libraries are marching to realize this next step in library service to provide a more integrated and effective library eContent experience.
Currently, it looks as if libraries might be able to have two options: the SimplyE app, which is brandable, or the more generic Open eBooks app (which was the first iteration of SimplyE): perhaps not brandable, but lower cost and easier to implement, providing access to open source eBooks, the ConnectED titles, and whatever eBooks that the library may have contracted for.
It is important to note that the SimplyE app will undergo continued development. Its accessibility features will become more robust and its compatibility with other eContent (not just eBooks) will be enhanced.
ReadersFirst extends a big thanks to NYPL for its pioneering working developing a library content solution, designed by librarians for librarians. We hope that our members, and all libraries, will recognize the revolutionary (or, if you prefer, evolutionary) prospects offered SimplyE, investigate, and implement it in some form.
Michael Blackwell, St. Mary's County Library