AZTEC — Now you can carry your local library in your back pocket.

On the heels of National Library Week next week, the Aztec and Bloomfield public libraries have added a new smartphone application to their arsenal of growing technological resources for patrons.

Insignia Software, a Canadian company the libraries pay for technical support and maintenance of their catalog system, offers the free app for iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

Patrons can use the app to reserve and renew books, search the library's catalog of more than 35,000 materials, check due dates and fines and view popular or recommended items.

"After our team had a training session with Insignia, we thought this would be a great move for us and our patrons," said Sabrina Hood, Aztec Public Library's director. "We are always interested in increasing the many different kinds of ways we can help our community with resources that matter."

Hood has overseen a number of improvements at the Aztec library in her short time as director.

One relationship that has been a boon has been Aztec's cooperative agreement with nearby Bloomfield Public Library. Last year, both libraries formed the library cooperative program to add the latest resources for patrons and split the cost.

"We asked, What could we do as neighboring, small communities to work together to have a greater impact?' and the cooperative became the vehicle for that," Hood said. "We (Aztec and Bloomfield libraries) use the same Insignia software, which gives us more purchasing power.

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The Aztec library added downloadable audio books last year and will add e-books to its catalog in the next few months.

It also just created its first online survey to learn from the community what matters most and what could be improved at the library. The survey has generated more than 150 responses in less than a week, Hood said.

The survey, available at www.azteclibrary.org, will be available until April 20.

And to help its users adjust to the new technology, the Aztec library will provide ample learning opportunities.

From 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, the library's information technology support specialist will hold a class on how to download and use the library's new app.

Later in the week, Luke Renner, digital media arts and design professor at San Juan College, will lead a class on video and audio production, Photoshop and other software applications. The class is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the library's digital technology lab.

Renner teaches a variety of courses on video production, digital image editing and multimedia, and he's no stranger to the library.

"I've led a handful of workshops at library, one recently with Aztec High School students working on match-on-action' editing, which involves filming the same scene from various angles using recorded sound and asking the students to come up with a film sequence inspired by the sound effects," he said.

The library will also provide free computer classes, iPad training and other events, as well as chances to win prizes during National Library Week.

But, perhaps, one of its greatest incentives may be the library's amnesty on late fines next week.
"We never would want someone to stop coming in through our doors because of a fine," Hood said. "A lot people use the library for more than just reading, but as a support community center for people needing resources at no- or low-cost. That's what matters."

Want to attend?
What:
National Library Week
Where: Aztec Public Library, 319 S. Ash St.
More info: For more information, call Aztec Public Library at 505-334-7657 or go to www.azteclibrary.org.

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @FentonDT