“We want the Cologne and Victoria Express Library to be a useful, convenient and easy experience for patrons; one they will want to use many times over. Judging by the demand, repeat users and positive patron feedback, the goal of the program to increase library visibility and access has been exceeded.”
Melissa Brechon Director of Carver County Library
Melissa Brechon, Director of Carver County Library in Minnesota oversees a library system consisting of six branches. Within the County there were growing communities requesting a new brick and mortar library to service their growing populations. While a new full service library was the optimal choice, the monetary requirements to build, staff and maintain a new library was not a realistic option given the current economy and strained budget. Melissa Brechon searched for an innovative way to fulfill this need for better access for these patrons.
The Carver County staff determined a standalone self-service branch is an economical flexible solution to increase visibility and provide expanded access to library services. LEID Products offered the right solution to fit their needs. Library patrons order materials on line or through LEID Products high-tech self-service computer kiosk called the ‘iLibrary’, then pick up reserved library materials 24/7 through LEID’s electronic locker system. Patrons use their library card number to reserve materials, and receive an email with access code when their materials are available for pick up. Returns can be made to a convenient book drop.
Melissa Brechon teamed with Washington County Library Director, Patricia Conley to apply for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) Federal Grant to fund the project. Early 2009 the grant money was received; by July Carver County’s first ‘Express Library’ was installed inside the Victoria Recreation Center, an ice hockey arena. The Victoria Express Library pilot location proved to be a great success, leading to plans for additional locations. Carver County added a second Library Express location in early 2010 at the Cologne Community Center. Cynthia Lowe, Circulation Supervisor, commented on patron feedback, “All the comments have been positive.”
The first of its kind in Minnesota, the Express Library is an innovative and cost-effective way to expand library services meeting patrons need for access and convenience. People stop by the Library Express to pick up their books right along with the rest of their daily errands.