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Pioneer Press: St. Paul Library debuts new, smartphone-friendly website with better searching

Until recently, the St. Paul Public Library’s online presence was awkward, to say the least.

Its website didn’t work well on mobile devices, had weak search features and did not permit patrons to save book information for future reference — all capabilities that public-library lovers expect these days.

This week, the St. Paul library is debuting a new website that taps into all the same information on the back end, but presents it in more flexible and useful ways.

Mobile-friendly? Check. Google-like searching? Yep. Wish-list making? You betcha.

Online browsing, the electronic equivalent of running a finger along the spines at a library branch for something interesting to read, is easier, too.

Patrons can also rate books, leave comments, write reviews, save titles, organize these onto digital “shelves,” follow and interact with other patrons, and more.

In a nod to the growing number of e-book users, the new website also fuses its physical-book catalog with information from e-book purveyors OverDrive and Cloud Library. This means a patron search for “The Alienist” can pull up different forms of the Caleb Carr novel in one fell swoop.

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