Ogdensburg Public Library

Ogdensburg Public Library

"We want [our patrons] to become comfortable with the library, and identify it as their library, as an agency that is here to serve them. [We want them] to know that the library isn't just a bunch of smelly old books."

Wayne Miller, executive director for Ogdensburg Public Library

NY Library Boosts Visitors and Performance with Accurate Inventory

Ogdensburg Public Library in Ogdensburg, New York is the central library in a four-county and 65-library system. In 2011 alone, it received 45,000 visits and loaned 62,000 items. Wayne Miller, the library's executive director, has undertaken many technological improvements to track the library's holdings and to increase community participation. For Miller, up-to-date records are crucial to serving library patrons and ensuring their return. There's nothing worse than customers identifying an item in a catalog that they desire, going to the shelf, and not finding it there. Thus Miller launched an inventory assessment in the library's stacks for the first time in two decades. The library tried using a handheld wireless device, but its cumbersome interface and the location's spotty WiFi access led him to another solution. 

Miller requested a notebook computer running Windows 7 through TechSoup, and installed SirsiDynix Symphony ILS software. He wired the stacks with Ethernet jacks to alleviate the WiFi issue. The library enlisted the aid of two volunteers to log each book, make corrections to its record as needed, and to check whether it had circulated in the past five years. Infrequently accessed and damaged books were set aside.

This same software and hardware were also used to sign up hundreds of new users at off-site community events.

Miller also took inventory of the library's museum holdings, digitizing community artifacts that date from the 1750s. The library requested a second robust desktop computer through TechSoup. Miller installed PastPerfect collection management software (designed for museums), added images and descriptions, and put the collection online. These kinds of nontraditional non-book related services are key to maintaining the relevance of libraries and literacy for generations to come.