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BookOps - Shared Technical Services between BPL & NYPL

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BookOps - Shared Technical Services between BPL & NYPL

New York Public Library, N.Y.

Institutional Change and Strategic Management | 2013 | Top Innovator

Innovation Summary

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and New York Public Library (NYPL) are implementing a plan to consolidate their technical services activities into one organization called BookOps. Co-Leaders on this project are Charlene Rue, BPL Director of Collection Management and Christopher Platt, NYPL Director of Collections & Circulation Operations.

Problem Statement

BookOpsNew York City’s libraries have experienced a collective $57 million reduction in city funding since 2008. The City’s library workforce is down 19%. Yet according to the Center for an Urban Future’s report on the City’s libraries “Branches of Opportunity”, during the past decade usage of the City’s library systems has skyrocketed, including a 59% increase in circulation. Recognizing this pressure, in 2011, the City tasked the three libraries to investigate ways to work more closely to save money and improve patron service. One area of exploration was technical services, where it was determined each library could benefit from increased flexibility in how those services are delivered, and in fact sharing those services at a large scale could lead to significant savings and efficiencies that would benefit New Yorkers.


Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and New York Public Library (NYPL) are implementing a plan to consolidate their book buying and collection management activities into one central location. This location will support a fully consolidated shared library technical services organization that will oversee selection, acquisitions, cataloging, processing, sorting and delivery of books and other materials to the libraries in each system. It will be called BookOps and be located in NYPL’s Library Services Center in Long Island City, NY. Much of calendar 2012 was spent in analysis and planning for BookOps. In 2013 efforts have shifted to implementation with a soft-launch scheduled for May 6th. Over 20 BPL Collection Development staff volunteered to join NYPL technical services staff to create the new BookOps team. In addition to the activities surrounding staff integration, final work continues on the governance structure, consolidating workflows, and testing the sorting and distribution of materials on the BookOps automated sorter. The ongoing challenge will be to integrate workflows and processes while New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public library retain their distinct identities with separate collections and separate material budgets.


BookOps will leverage scale and consistency to create new efficiencies designed to save the two library systems up to $3.5 million annually. BookOps will allow us to better serve New Yorkers at a lower cost and positions us to explore future citywide service enhancements. The New York City libraries may choose to offer universal returns, universal request, universal library card and the expansion of the MyLibraryNYC partnership with the Department of Education.