Build lasting connections with diverse communities
"Wise makes it very easy to work with your customers and to empower them."
Director of Products and Technology, Anythink Libraries
The mission of Anythink Libraries is to "open doors for curious minds" in their local communities. In order to support and promote positive change, Anythink staff (known internally as Anythinkers) also adopt an innovative mindset. And they truly live and breathe it. This creative spirit drives how they approach collection and programming decisions and community engagement activities, and how they choose the right tools to support their vision.
"Our previous library management system was, at best, functional for tracking materials," says Logan Macdonald, Director of Products and Technology, Anythink Libraries. "But it did nothing to help us develop and nurture relationships with our customers. When we first learned of OCLC Wise®, we got excited and started imagining how we could use a product focused on the customer instead of the materials. With its focus on community engagement, it's a great fit for our philosophy."
Anythink's seven branches and bookmobile support a large geographic area covering a wide variety of unique neighborhoods and communities. This means they can't take a one-size-fits-all approach. "To create connections with so many different types of customers, we have to understand them. And Wise helps us do that."
"OCLC staff makes us feel like partners. We know they’re committed to libraries, and they involve us in decisions about Wise."
Wise lets customers indicate what subjects interest them and opt into a variety of communications. Staff can then make programming and purchase decisions based on real-life, real-time knowledge. One great example is the Anythink Box subscription program for kids ages 5 to 12. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children couldn't get to a library or school to access materials. Wise empowered staff to easily match available items to age and interest, helping them send out more than 2,200 customized boxes in 2021.
"We couldn't have done that without Wise," Logan tells us. "First off, workflows for our technical services staff required about five times as many steps and clicks under our previous system. And manual creation of emails was time-consuming and limited. Now, we can easily set up an automated email campaign—or a subscription box program—that we know will resonate because it's based on interests."
The result? "We've had great response from people, both in person and on social media. And right after the first successful Anythink Box launch, we asked our community to extend this service. This led to our best fundraising year ever for the Anythink Foundation."
Logan and other Anythinkers also appreciate that OCLC is a membership organization with similar values to Anythink. "OCLC staff make us feel like partners. We know they're committed to libraries, they listen, and they involve us in decisions."
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