Welcome to The Curve, where we take stock of how the D.C. area's various jurisdictions stack up on specific policies and programs.
Hold on to your hats, Arlington Library users. The library is about to blow your mind. With text messages.
Text message notifications are just one facet of the upcoming overhaul of Arlington Library's entire catalog system, which is going to include a whole new online user interface, mobile phone capabilities, and a host of new features.
Library spokesperson Peter Golkin says the staff is "pretty excited" because the overhaul is sorely needed. It's been 12 years since the library got a new catalog system, which he admits is "an eternity" when it comes to technology. But is this planned upgrade particularly groundbreaking?
Not really, at least according to information the library's already released about the system. The text messages will likely be useful for library clients without smart phones — but the D.C. Public Library has had text notification capability since February of 2009.
In other areas, Arlington's playing catch-up with a lot of other systems. The upgrade — planned for mid-February — will be the first time that Arlington library customers can pay their late fees online, something's that's already in place at D.C., Montgomery County, and the City of Alexandria libraries.
(As an aside, there's good news for those of us that may be, ahem, carrying some late fees. Any existing balances will transfer over to the new system in February, meaning that you can hold out just a few more weeks and then pay them, unashamed, in the privacy of your own internet space.)
And while D.C. Public Library has had a pretty blinged out iPhone app since 2009, there's no similar application planned for Arlington. You will be able to access the catalog through your mobile device, however, and place renew and hold requests through your phone's browser, Golkin says.
Arlington's tech upgrades are clearly coming a couple years behind similar ones in other local library systems, so we're ranking them a bit behind the curve on this one.