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The PLA Blog | Official Blog of the Public Library Association

In multi-county libraries across the country, there is a concern for the patrons who are far from the main or branch libraries. Looking for lower cost alternatives than building more branches, two Missouri libraries have established what they call the Library-To-Go (LTG). Melissa Carr of the Daniel Boone Regional Library and Steven Potter of the Mid-Continent Public Library explained in their PLA program “Library-To-Go: Putting Your Library Virtually Anywhere.”

Don’t let the word “virtual” trick you. In this case, the Missouri libraries established physical points of service beyond their buildings. Mid-Continent has put locked pick-up boxes, browseable media collections, and public computers in community centers, while Daniel Boone has set up in a convenience store in one of its smaller communities. Melissa and Steven explained how they set up and how patrons now use the LTGs. Steven even had a couple of instructional videos. The audience went “ah” when the patron stuck his library card under a scanner and the door to his box popped open. Both libraries deliver materials to the LTGs seven days a week.

Melissa indicated that the choosing of partners to house the LTGs is the trickiest part of the equation. Libraries need to find enthusiastic library supporters who will be gracious to users who do not also purchase from the store. When Daniel Boone placed the LTG, it was given a great space near the front of the store. The original owner, however, then sold the store and the new owner moved the LTG to the back. Luckily, that has not been a problem.

Both libraries have seen circulation increase and won some local support from areas that were not keen on taxing bodies before they set up their demote services. Both plan to set up more locations.

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