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Shawnee Mall Book Box

Pioneer Library System - Shawnee Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Karen Bays, Branch Manager, Shawnee Public Library - Pioneer Library System, kbays@pls.lib.ok.us

Problem Statement

Like many U.S. towns over the last few decades, Shawnee, Oklahoma has experienced residential and commercial growth in an outward direction. This urban sprawl has caused some businesses in the inner city to be underused, and many have closed their doors. Shawnee Public Library is located in the heart of downtown Shawnee, and while it continues to provide service for a great number of citizens, there have been complaints that the library is located too far away from where many people live and do business. The City of Shawnee does not currently have funding to consider planning a second library to serve the town.

Innovation

Pioneer Library System has been successfully operating a “book box” at a mall in their Norman branch community for some time. Library staff believed that we could bring our positive experience with the Norman mall to bear on addressing the problem in Shawnee. The Shawnee Mall is located in the midst of newer development, including mixed residential and commercial use. Library staff determined that we could provide a service point at the mall that would help bring materials to a convenient location for customers to pick up. The Shawnee Mall management was open and supportive of a library partnership.

We installed book boxes and a book return at the Shawnee Mall in December 2009. Customers are able to go online to the library catalog through our website, place holds on items, and set the pickup location as the Shawnee Mall. Library staff members stock individual locked book boxes with customers’ reserved materials. Customers are notified by e-mail, telephone, or mail that the hold is ready, and they are asked to pick the material up within a week. Customers type in the last seven digits of their library card number at the book box keypad, and the appropriate box with reserved materials pops open.

Progress

After just a few short months of being open, the library service point at the Shawnee Mall has recorded increasing use. We have received some compliments from customers who are grateful that they don’t have to drive all the way into downtown Shawnee to pick up materials.