Contrary to popular belief, every once in a while, LL likes to point out cool, positive things the D.C. government is up to.

Like this: The D.C. Public Library has an iPhone application. And it’s great!

It lets you search the library catalog, place a hold on a book, and have it sent to the branch of your choice. Don’t know how to get to that branch? You can search a list of branches, get maps, hours, and direction—-and even a picture of the building.

Chris Tonjes, DCPL’s chief information officer and the guy who came up with the idea back in November, says his is the first library system in the nation to do an iPhone application. “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if we had our catalog on the iPhone? So we started playing around with it.”

So far, Tonjes says, at least 3,500 folks have downloaded it since it debuted Jan. 8—-enough to make it, as of last week, the 66th most popular free educational app. All that interest came without much more than word-of-mouth; no media’s noticed outside of a few library bloggers.

Tonjes says the library’s got some new interesting tech items in the works: For one thing, the iPhone app might be seeing an upgrade in the future—-perhaps to add the library’s Live Homework Help online feature or to directly download videos and music. A Facebook application is in the planning stage, he says, and shortly the library will share thousands of rare photographs through Flickr’s Commons project.

And there’s some hope for LL, who is not an iPhone user. A BlackBerry version, he’s told, is in the works.