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Smart Libraries Newsletter

Vendors Rush to Support Curbside Services

Smart Libraries Newsletter [October 2020]


As libraries phase in access to their buildings and services in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they strive to identify processes that give the greatest benefit at the lowest risk to patrons and library workers. Many have offered patrons the option to request items in advance through their online catalogs and collect them at a designated time with minimal physical contact. This curbside pickup model has become a routine service in the retail sector throughout the pandemic. The July 2020 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter listed some of the efforts in the library community to develop or enhance technology products to accommodate the special circumstances surrounding the pandemic crisis. Such developments have continued.

The Equinox Open Library Initiative, a non-profit organization providing development and support services for the open source Evergreen ILS, completed a new Curbside Pickup. Funding for the development project was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System organization. This feature extends Evergreen's request features to enable patrons to select items from the catalog, place a hold, and designate a date and time for pickup. The library can then pull the items from the stacks and organize them according to patron requests. Upon arrival, the patron launches the Evergreen catalog on their device, signs into their account, and presses the button indicating they are ready to collect their materials.

Support for curbside pickup for the open source Koha ILS was created through collaborative efforts of ByWater Solutions and Equinox Open Library Initiative. This collaboration was based on specifications Equinox created, modeling what it has developed for Evergreen and was subsequently implemented by ByWater Solutions developers. Consistent with the sponsored development model, these new features were contributed to Koha, benefiting all libraries using it regardless of support provider.

In September 2020, Springshare announced a new Pickup Manager for its LibApps suite of tools. Pickup Manager helps library workers manage patrons' holds and pickup, including scheduled notifications via SMS messages or email. The product integrates with the library's ILS to avoid any duplicate entry when managing holds. It leverages the capabilities of Springshare's LibCal and LibAnswers products. Springshare plans to release Pickup Manager in early October 2020.

Libraries using Carl.X, such as the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma City, Somerset County (NJ) Library, and OWLsnet in Wisconsin, were able to take advantage of its advanced customization features to adjust their circulation procedures for curbside pickup and other contactless ways of requesting and receiving materials.

Biblionix was early to deliver new features in Apollo in support of library responses to the COVID-19 crisis, with new features announced in June 2020. In addition to new self-service features for contactless checkouts, Biblionix created a set of new enhancements for its holds features, including pickup dates and new location options, such as curbside or drive-up windows. Other new capabilities are enhanced access to electronic titles and boosting their placement in search results. Circulation policies were enhanced with configurable quarantine intervals.

Note: this summary of systems and vendors offering new capabilities for curbside services should not be taken as comprehensive. These vendors have made public announcements; others may have communicated new features or products directly to their clients.

View Citation
Publication Year:2020
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 40 Number 10
Issue:October 2020
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:25608
Last Update:2022-11-14 05:39:06
Date Created:2020-10-19 15:42:03