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Any way you slice it, the E-CBU™ System is a flexible and powerful solution that provides enormous operational efficiencies for diverse facilities.
Visit the E-CBU™ System product page.The following article on the Peach™, referred to here as the Library Express, was written by Natalie Rooney in Ohio Libraries Magazine in Spring 2005.
Special Delivery for Special People
What if you didn't have a car and you lived too far away from the library to walk? What if your child had a learning or physical disability that kept him from participating in traditional learning activities? What if you didn't speak English very well? Would you still be able to take advantage of all your local library has to offer? In Ohio, happily that answer is yes. Ohio's libraries serve a diverse population, many with special needs and requirements that can make providing equal access to materials a great challenge. But with a reputation of having one of the best library systems in the country, Ohio's libraries know that where there's a will, there's a way.
Keeping the Library Within Reach
Some libraries have numerous branch locations throughout their communities or provide bookmobile service to communities that do not have a library nearby, but the Portage County District Library has found an innovative way to provide library service to even more of its community members. The Library Express project is the solution for patrons who are unable to get to a library branch when it is open, or find that the distance to a branch is problematic. Library Express enables patrons to pick up those library materials according to their own schedules in convenient locations throughout the county. Currently there are 12 Library Express locations around Portage County, with three final locations scheduled for installation.
The Library Express project was partially funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services Library Services and Technology Act grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio in 2002. The project required working with a manufacturer to develop the equipment to meet the library's needs. American Locker security Systems, Inc. in Jamestown, New York worked closely with library staff. Similar to mailbox units seen in condominium developments and mobile home parks, the Library Express units are controlled by an electronic keypad.
Library cardholders can go online at www.portage library.org to search the library's catalog of materials. After browsing the catalog, the patron makes a selection and places holds on items of interest. Patrons also can place holds by calling or visiting a branch library. The patron chooses the preferred Express location for delivery at the time the holds are placed. The items are received at library headquarters where they are checked out to the patron and delivered to the appropriate Express unit. Patrons receive a phone call when items are available for pickup.
At the Express unit, the patron enters in the last seven digits of the library card number into the keypad. The door, or doors, assigned to the patron will automatically open so the materials can be retrieved. After a few minutes, the library card number is erased from the Express unit's memory and the locker is available to be used for the next delivery. Library materials are delivered five days a week, Monday through Friday. The Library Express units are at outdoor, well-lighted locations and have a book return next to them for convenient return of items.
One Portage County District Library patron said, "Library Express is so convenient and easy to use. I still enjoy going to the library, but when I can't get there, the express box is always there. I can put a hold on some books and look forward to them being delivered in a few days. It's a great service."
The Portage County District Library's Library Express was the 2004 winner of the Ohio Public Library Information Network's Library Innovation in Networked Services Award.
"We could not have done this project without the cooperation and support of our community partners, who range from local governments to for-profit businesses," said Portage County District Library Director Pam Hickson-Stevenson. "Our community partners have demonstrated that they value library service and want to make it available to as many people as possible in Portage County. It is obviously a service that our public appreciates. In the first 10 months of operation, nearly 110 customers used Library Express and checked out more than 3,000 items. We see an average of three new patrons each week as satisfied customers spread the word to family and friends."
The Portage County Library System was the first user of American Locker's E-CBU™ System starting in 2002. They continue to expand the system, now in use for thousands of their library patrons. American Locker and its many subsequent customers, users and patrons wish to thank Portage County for their vision of extending library services beyond their branches and for opening many eyes to the possibilities inherent in 21st Century Distribution. Simply put, we could not have done it without you.