Delivering the Future
For over five years, Innovative has helped the staff of Ohio’s Westerville Public Library meet their stated goal of Delivering the Future. Says Library Director Don W. Barlow: “Innovative and Westerville staff saw in each other’s organizations the potential for making bold ideas a reality.”
“We want to be looked on by our community as an entity that leads with new services,” says Kristen Hewitt, Manager of Support Services. “Rather than being slow to implement online services that make service faster and more convenient, we want to be ahead of the curve. In an environment in which our users are largely tech savvy and on the move, choosing Innovative as a partner was a critical choice.”
Westerville went live with Millennium in December of 2000. Five years later, the library has been involved in testing several of Innovative’s cutting-edge products. First, the library became beta tester for WebBridge smart-linking technology and MetaFind federated-search technology soon after the development projects were announced at an Innovative Users Group meeting.
Recently, Westerville partnered with Innovative to be the first U.S. library to introduce fine payment as an integrated component of an ILS. “Our patrons were asking if they could use their credit cards to pay fines,” says Hewitt. “The problem was they’d have to first add value to a pay card using a machine and then bring the card back to the circ desk. And the machine was complicated to use.”
“Ecommerce has changed all that and allowed online payments within Millennium,” Hewitt continues. “Last month (November, 2005) was our biggest Ecommerce month ever, and it’s bigger every month. Since its implementation two years ago, 30 percent of the dollars collected from fines has been through Ecommerce online. That’s almost $60,000 for 2005.”
With Innovative, the library has remained ahead of the curve, and is currently working with Innovative as a development partner for Program Registration, an integrated tool that lets patrons register for library-sponsored events directly through their My Millennium portal.
It’s not just Millennium’s public-side features that keep Westerville at the forefront of library technology year after year. “All the features in Cataloging and Acquisitions like Data Exchange and Inventory Express have allowed us to go to centralized selection which we can now do with two people,” says Hewitt. “We need librarians working with the public, so we need Millennium’s streamlined workflow to free up their time.”