Details

“The Library Express has been an asset to the city of Hugo as well as all Washington County Library patrons. This is a new system for us, the first in the state of Minnesota, and we’re excited about the possibilities!”

PATRICIA CONLEY, Washington County (MN) Library Director

Problem

Established in 1967, Washington County library has nine branch libraries, two associate city libraries and the Washington County Law Library serving 27 cities and six townships. Within the county is the city of Hugo, a community that has been growing substantially. The population of Hugo has more than 12,417 people and covers 36 square miles. Hardwood Creek Branch is the closest library to Hugo but is located in the Washington County Forest Lake Service Center – a far distance for most of the Hugo patrons. Patricia Conley, Washington County Library Director, wanted to find a way to offer closer library services to the Hugo community in a cost-effective way. The plan though had to promote library growth without having to build a new facility.

Solutions

Conley discovered a high-tech kiosk called iLibrary (developed by LEID Products in Auburn Hills, MI) where patrons can order, pick up and return library materials, using a self-service kiosk, locker system and book return, 24 hours a day. Washington County Library jointly with Carver County Library, a nearby county in Minnesota, applied for a federal grant. The grant was approved from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Minnesota Department of Education, State Library Services for both counties to install an iLibrary kiosk. The Washington County iLibrary kiosk equipment – which the library has renamed “Library Express” – was delivered and installed in July 2010. Carver County also has installed an “Express Library” in the city of Victoria, MN.

Customer Savings

The equipment cost $44,000, plus installation costs. The kiosk has been a cost effective and easy alternative to service the Hugo community without having to build a new facility during times when budgets are tight. “This has been an asset to the residents of Hugo and all Washington County Library patrons,” says Patricia Conley, Washington County Library Director. “This is a new system for us, the first in the state of Minnesota, and we’re excited about the possibilities”. Conley believes the kiosk will be a convenient part of customers’ daily lives.

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