DPL Connect: A Pedal-Powered Bookmobile w/ Wi-Fi
Denver Public Library, Colo.
In an effort to bring our services directly to the people in an exciting and unexpected way, the Denver Public Library launched a new service called DPL Connect, a book bike complete with shelves, display areas and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The tricked-out trike imbeds library services directly into the community.
Denver Public Library’s strategic plan includes a customer-focused initiative that brings our services and products outside of our brick and mortar locations, making us accessible and visible in more dynamic and unexpected ways. As a catalyst to this initiative, DPL Connect has taken opportunity of events and gathering places throughout Denver, and thereby surprising folks with the library’s maneuverability and adaptability. Providing free Wi-Fi, onsite library card registration, items available for circulation, and collateral distribution, DPL Connect is a sustainable and novel ambassador for the Library. By introducing itself this way to new customers, and reintroducing itself to established customers, the Denver Public Library has strategically taken to the streets to engage with people where they are.
Key Elements of Innovation
DPL Connect is a tangible example of how the Denver Public Library is encouraging and fostering a culture of innovation, responsible risk taking, and trendsetting. It also acts as an example of creativity outperforming dollars spent. Choosing a local custom bike builder allowed the Library to be involved with the design and foster a community focus that the bike continues to advocate. By providing traditional Library services in an unexpected way, DPL Connect has been able to promote the library in circles that are traditionally difficult for Libraries to access. DPL Connect has also been able to partner with businesses and entities the Library has never before approached. As an example, the Denver Bicycle Café offered happy hour prices to folks with library cards at an event where DPL Connect was registering library cards. Also, BikeDenver named DPL a Bicycle Friendly Business based largely in part to our outreach efforts
DPL Connect has successfully imbedded library staff throughout our community in a nimble and exciting way. Being limited at it’s initial events in that there was no way to check out items, staff with the bike gave away over 800 books. Having then creatively connected to our ILS through VPN access, staff have been able to register new library cards and circulate items. This access transcends DPL Connect and is now used by DPL’s Street Team at all events that the library has a presence. DPL Connect has also successfully expanded on customer experience in Denver, and has changed the way the Library is perceived.