Plainsboro Public Library
Keep curbside for convenience and safety
"I absolutely love CapiraCurbside, and so does my staff."
Circulation Manager, Plainsboro Public Library
Like all of us, Plainsboro Free Public Library didn't see the COVID-19 pandemic coming. "How could we have?" asked Neera Kothary, Circulation Manager at Plainsboro, adding, "But like every library out there, we had to figure out how to quickly connect with our community in safe ways." One of the biggest concerns was how to deliver materials to users when they weren't allowed inside the building. As such, curbside pickup was clearly going to be one part of the solution.
"I was researching some options, as this is our first venture into curbside, and my director brought CapiraCurbsideSM to my attention. The service had all the features we were looking for," Neera said.
The Plainsboro team wanted totally contactless pickup, the ability to place holds on items from home and to schedule pick-up times, reminder emails with instructions, and simple integration with their integrated library system (ILS). CapiraCurbside satisfied all of these requirements, and the fast and easy implementation was a bonus. "We got started while we figured out our own processes and put items that had been circulated through an initial quarantine. But within a month, we had blocked off parking spots with signs with our phone numbers, set up pick-up tables, bought brown bags to pack the books in, got staff back in the building, and started taking online hold requests from our patrons."
"Initially, we only allowed Plainsboro residents to use this service and they could only place Plainsboro items on hold, since there was no interlibrary loan service at first. But as libraries and other services opened up, we provided this service to all patrons who could borrow from us."
"It's worth the money and fits easily into a tight budget. Implementation is brilliant. It removes staff and patron stress. And it's keeping everyone safe."
Community members were thrilled to safely pick up books when it was convenient for them. "A lot of people in our community aren't tech-savvy," Neera pointed out. "But the Capira app worked really well with our ILS and people got the hang of it very quickly." In fact, people liked CapiraCurbside so much, that months after in-building restrictions were lifted, around 20 percent of the library's check-outs are still handled curbside.
"People love it. For many, they're still not comfortable coming in the building. And in the winter or during bad weather or just when people are in a hurry, it's a better option for some. We're glad to be able to respond to those preferences."
As all restrictions lift, libraries may feel it's not a valuable enough benefit. Neera disagrees. "It's become an important component of the Plainsboro service model. Implementation is brilliant. It removes staff and patron stress. And it's keeping everyone safe, which is the most important element during the current situation. What more can you say?"