I’m super excited to share some recent and upcoming changes at Curtis Library. I’ve been with Curtis Library for 10 years as the Adult Services Manager and recently transitioned to the role of Customer Experience Manager.

My main focus is on the customer experience using the library facilities and services. I believe that excellence is ultimately defined by the user experience. How easy is it for someone to get a membership with us? To request and retrieve items through our hold service, to locate and borrow a physical item or a digital item? In my new role, I’ll be looking at all the touchpoints through customer journey mapping and focus on developing and improving innovative, customer-centered services, spaces, policies, and procedures.

As part of my new role, I am also leading our wonderful Lending Services Team. As we are reopening the library for browsing we are looking at how we can best meet our customer needs and expectations.

The pandemic has disrupted traditional library practices causing patrons to bypass the circulation desk in favor of curbside pickup. I get asked a lot if we will continue curbside pickup once we are open to browsing. When we are fully open, ongoing curbside delivery, while providing in-person services, will be a logistical challenge. In normal, pre-covid times over 900 people visit the library every day – many of those coming to the checkout desk to pick up holds. Pre pandemic service points won’t be adequate to support curbside services on a long-term basis. But we know the ongoing need is real: seniors, persons with mobility challenges, rushed commuters, busy parents, and many others see a real benefit from curbside pickup. So we need to plan to continue curbside delivery and other new and popular services moving forward. This means creating the physical, technical, organizational and social infrastructure to support these new services.

One way to do this is to strengthen our self-service model. Over the past several years, we have implemented many self-service options, including online program, meeting room, and library card registration, as well as self-checkout.

We are excited to announce that we are now offering convenient, self-service Holds Pick Up. No more waiting in line at the checkout desk to pick up your holds!  The Holds Pick Up shelves are located next to the checkout desk. Items are shelved alphabetically by patron last name and, for your privacy, items are spine down. Items can then be checked out at one of our self-check machines, with your smartphone using the CloudLibrary app, or you can take your items to the friendly staff at the checkout desk for a more personal touch.

With self-checkout options standard in more and more locations, we feel that efficient self-service should be available for those who want it. Please note that we are not advocating for the replacement of staffed desks, as there will always be users who prefer face-to-face interactions, and we will always have staff available to provide that assistance. The goal is to improve the experience for those who, for example, like to place items on hold in the catalog and then quickly stop in to retrieve and check out the items themselves. This not only provides a streamlined process but also reduces congestion at the checkout desk and frees up staff to address more specific customer needs. And, we hope, continue curbside services!

We realize that self-service holds pick up isn’t for everybody. If you choose to opt out of self-service holds pick up, please call the Lending Services Desk at 725-5242. Select the option for curbside pickup to speak with a Lending Services team member. We will make a note in your account to file your holds behind the desk.

We are super excited about these changes and think you will be too! There may be a few speedbumps along the way as we explore what services look like in a post-covid library – but know that we are keeping you, our user, at the heart of all that we do.

We look forward to seeing you back in the library!