A Large Community Library Streamlines Operations
Saint Paul Public Library (MN) is a large institution with the need to manage library operations without unnecessary technology roadblocks or wasted staff time. By partnering with Innovative Interfaces, the Library has streamlined acquiring materials and implemented self-service tools to greatly reduce the time it takes to acquire an item and get it into a patron’s hands. This kind of efficiency has been crucial for a system that circulates over two-and-a-half million items per annum.
To streamline acquisitions, the Library moved all their activity to Millennium, which made centralized book and media selection possible. Says Guthrie: “Two full years of centralized selection has been a success. Knowing where we stand in terms of collection development, up to the moment, has been a huge development for us. A city consultant came through and in ten minutes they knew that we are doing things well in terms of selecting and acquiring items.”
Thanks to the integrated Inventory Express product, the Library is also able to use Millennium to query book vendors in real-time and compare holdings and ship dates between resources. “This brings us the ability to get a look at what is available very rapidly,” says Guthrie. “It’s not just price that matters. We can also see what we get and how quickly. There’s no point of waiting six months for an item we could have next week.”
Periodicals management has been so improved that one full-time employee’s time has been re-allocated. “With periodicals and their staggered and changing release cycles, it’s important to have the check-in card feature of Millennium serials. Our staff can see more of what’s going on with a particular title at a glance.”
In addition to these efficiencies, the Library has been able to provide a single point of access for patrons by capitalizing on Millennium’s integrated architecture. Visitors to the online catalog will find subscription-database titles in their result set, while new additions to the catalog are available in real-time.
The Library also added WebPAC Pro’s shopping basket in 2003. Says Guthrie: “Our results after we added the service were so impressive we presented the outcome to the state Innovative Users Group (IUG) meeting. We’ve watched the national IUG conference grow in size and we now send five people each year because it’s so productive. The presence of other public libraries has given us great ideas. The meeting also keeps Innovative moving forward, and that’s important!”