Minnesota’s Washington and Carver County Libraries Win State Award for Library Express System Developed by LEID Products

Auburn Hills, MI-based LEID Products, LLC announce Washington and Carver County Libraries in Minnesota were presented with a state award last week for their ‘Express Library’ developed by LEID Products. The Express Library was launched in July 2010 as a pilot program to bring services to communities such as Hugo and Victoria, which do not have a full service library. The first of its kind in Minnesota, the Library Express is an innovative and cost-effective way to expand access to library services.

Carver County Library Director, Melissa Brechon, and Washington County Library Director, Patricia Conley, spearheaded the pilot program and accepted the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Achievement Award for the Library Express model at the 2011 AMC Annual Conference in downtown Minneapolis, December 5th.

“Winning this award is very gratifying; there has been skepticism among some library directors as to the value of this type of service. This award validates there is great application for these systems to meet the needs of the community,” said Patricia Conley. “The key to our success has been placement, just as in any marketing project, we researched and evaluated where to locate these systems based on community gathering places. Whether that is a community center, an ice rink, or a shopping plaza depends on the community. You make it convenient for the residents of that community to pick up their library materials where they are already going. Our patrons love the ease of browsing for library materials on our website or at the Express Library kiosk and then we deliver to them, rather than them coming to us.”

The iLibrary Express kiosk, developed by LEID, was installed inside Hugo City Hall 18 months ago to provide that city access to Washington County library materials. Materials can also be requested from any other computer with Internet access. Materials are delivered to LEID’s secure electronic lockers outside Hugo City Hall, making them available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Library customers are notified by e-mail, and can use their library card number to retrieve materials at their convenience. Returns can be made to a book return in the same location.

LEID’s Library Express system was also installed in the Victoria recreation center in Carver County. Both counties used a federal Institutes of Museum and Library Services grant of $140,000 to purchase the equipment.

LEID’s Electronic Lockers for Express Library pick-up available 24/7 outside Hugo City Hall in Minnesota.

LEID’s Electronic Lockers for Express Library pick-up available 24/7 outside Hugo City Hall in Minnesota.

Because of the high rate of use, the locker system in Washington County was doubled from 20 to 40 lockers this past January. LEID’s iLibrary kiosk system will be installed this month in two additional new locations, Marine on St. Croix and Newport.

The initial concept for using self-service library kiosks originated in 2004 when metro-area libraries joined other library systems in greater Minnesota in seeking federal funds for a pilot project. The original quest for funds was never realized, but the needs of underserved residents remained. The libraries across the state, as with libraries across the nation, continue to be faced with flat budgets, increased demands for services, and constricted open hours while the cost for construction and personnel continues to escalate.

Washington County and Carver County Libraries persisted in their quest to fill the void of library access for these underserved residents, making it an important goal in long-range planning for both their library systems. In 2009, Washington and Carver County partnered in applying for a federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. Their persistence was rewarded with a LSTA grant of $140,000 to purchase the equipment. By joining together, the two county library systems were able to test different venues by providing access to library services through the self-contained systems that allow library customers access to materials through LEID’s self-service lockers and iLibrary kiosk.

The self-service Express Library allows public libraries to provide library access where demand is insufficient to support a traditional library. Their success demonstrates that there is interest in replicating these projects throughout Minnesota and throughout the country. As reported in the Minnesota newspaper, Stillwater Gazette; the Express Library solution is an innovative and affordable stepping stone between no physical library in a community and building a traditional “bricks and mortar” library branch.

About LEID Products:

Law Enforcement Intelligent Devices (LEID), LLC was originally founded to assist police departments in securing their assets (guns, weapons and radios) through an electronic tracking and fingerprinting system.  LEID’s products since have been utilized to track many other type of assets such as; books, tapes and magazines within a library system; medical supplies, laptops and even the securing of business documents to selected personnel.  For more information and to see on-line demonstrations of our products, log on to www.leidproducts.com.