Darien Library

A successful organization that happens to be a library

Lyngsoe Systems’ Integrated Library System (ILS) and retraining clerks to become knowledge workers become key factors at a cutting edge library in Darien, Connecticut.

Implementation of Automated Material Handling (AMH) played a key role in the redevelopment of the Darien library in 2005. The same staff level has been retained despite doubling floor space. 40% of all returns are made via the outdoor drive-through check-in station and ROI was achieved within 5 years.

 

 

The Darien library, Connecticut, was a victim of its own success. Its ‘Extreme Customer Service’ model had made it very popular and stock levels were inexorably rising, despite all books, DVDs, CDs and other media being paid for by private donations. 160,000 items in facilities designed for only 120,000 meant that space was becoming a critical factor. The funds became available to redevelop the library with a much bigger building, offering the chance to implement changes and services designed to enhance the customer service model.

 

The new building was completed in 2009 with automation based around Lyngsoe Systems’ Integrated Library System to support AMH. Organizing the infrastructure was the starting point, with automated systems to handle the heavy work of sorting and ergonomic carts to relieve the strain of shelf-filling. Self-service check-in stations were introduced both inside the building and outside – the latter open 24/7 and bringing the side benefit of reducing demand for parking space. The staff has gone from being library clerks to knowledge workers, with the time and engagement to advise customers on their reading choices and benefiting from more varied, interesting work with less physical strain. Staff numbers remain the same despite the increase in capacity and service levels.

 

ROI was achieved within the budgeted 5 year period and Darien quickly became a benchmark for automated library services in the USA, frequently visited by other libraries to gain inspiration before embarking on AMH systems themselves. Lyngsoe Systems ILS means that items get back on the shelves quicker, increasing lending frequency and customer satisfaction.