Evolve Library Delivery Models to Improve Service Post-Pandemic

As Covid-19 forced global lockdowns and demanded closures of stores, restaurants and public places, libraries pivoted quickly to find new ways to serve their communities. Borrowing a model from retail and restaurants, many libraries began offering roadside pick-up of reserved physical materials, craft kits and even curated binge-boxes of movies to keep people entertained while at home. The service was a hit.

Over the past several months, Bibliotheca has hosted candid conversations with more than 50 libraries across the globe about how Covid-19 has affected their service and communities. Almost without exception, these libraries report that roadside pick-up has been a surprising success, and one that their library members want to see continued even after the pandemic is behind us.

But the truth is, this service model is labour-intensive for staff. Taking phone calls for reservations, collecting materials, checking them out and delivering them to waiting library members can easily take ten minutes per customer. With many libraries facing looming budget cuts in the wake of the pandemic, hiring additional staff to continue the roadside service even as libraries reopen is impractical if not impossible.

Unlike other reservation software, Bibliotheca’s roadside pick-up solution, open+ Collect, not only encourages library users to place holds directly from their smartphone or computer, but also offers users a choice between picking up their items from a staff member during a prearranged time or having them delivered to a holds pick-up locker where they can be picked up at their convenience. Offering pick-up through the pick-up lockers, like Bibliotheca’s remoteLocker, allows library staff to fill many orders at once, saving considerable time and effort.

remoteLockers can be placed anywhere in the community, including grocery stores, community centres or gyms. Additionally, libraries can use open+ access to create a 24/7 pick-up option within a library vestibule, offering ultimate convenience and providing equitable access to library materials for all kinds of users. Furthermore, the materials are not checked out to user’s accounts until they are actually removed from the locker, preventing items from appearing on member’s accounts while they are still waiting for a library hold shelf.

Bibliotheca’s open+ Collect solution allows busy library patrons to select when and how they’d like to retrieve their materials. Borrowers are notified when their items are ready for pick-up. The software integrates fully with your ILS. From the staff point of view, integration with the library ILS is key to ensure smooth implementation and minimal transaction time.

Better service with less hassle. Offer your library members convenient roadside service while reducing workload for staff.

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