controlling a 7 segment display with a 74HC595 and an UNO

Last night I connected a 7447 BCD to 7 segment IC to a circuit I already had on a breadboard that has a 74HC595 shift register connected to 8 LEDs displaying BCD.

I know I don't need the shift register just to send BCD to the 7447 as it only saves one pin on the Arduino as opposed to just connecting the microcontroller directly to the 7447 but it was just an experiment.

Question: I have used the SHIFTER library to control individual outputs of a shift register (it works well and is simple) and was wondering what's the easiest way to control a 7 segment LED display with a 74HC595 and an Arduino?

I want to simply tell the sketch what numbers to display and have them show up in the display just like I can do with SHIFTER and individual pins. It would also be nice to be able to create my own custom characters.

What's the most common library people use for doing this?