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Quick Pick Bags

Calgary Public Library

Problem Statement

Staff observed that many parents were popping into the library to pick up their holds, but were not taking the time to browse the picture book collections to borrow for their children. They also observed that busy parents did not always have time to stay and browse after storytimes. It was felt that we could provide an additional borrowing option for busy parents by offering bags of preselected materials. It was also felt that observed, changed borrowing patterns would have a negative impact on circulation over time.


To respond to changing borrowing patterns and potentially lower circulation, we developed Quick Pick Bags for Toddlers and Quick Pick Bags for babies. These bags contain 6 preselected items that parents can pick up and borrow. They are located near hold shelves and circulation desks to make borrowing easy.

The program was developed centrally then procedures were distributed to enable all locations to participate.

Lists of suitable titles were developed by staff in the Central Children and Young Adults department. These lists are updated annually to ensure individual title holdings will support this use and to incorporate new material received in the previous year. Procedures were developed and communicated system wide with a focus on efficiency and simplicity. Shelving staff in branches pull the titles from prescribed lists, and assemble the quick pick bags based on the use in their location. Each bag contains 6 items from the lists. Materials include a variety of formats including board books, picture books, early non fiction, cd’s and readalongs. The bags are reuseable heavy duty plastic bags with large labels identifying them as Quick Picks for Toddlers, or Quick Picks for Preschoolers.

Initial support for the program included one to two hours of support staff time to pull materials, plus the cost of bags and large sized labels for printing. The cost of creating the lists and developing the procedures was absorbed within the Children and Young Adults department.


In 2009 5,974 Toddler Bags and 9009 Preschool Bags circulated were borrowed, generating a circulation of just under 90,000 for the year. Their continued popularity has led us to plan to add a Quick Picks for Babies bag.