Defining and Defying the “New Normal”

Libraries can meet changing needs without overburdening staff | Sponsored

December 4, 2020

Convience people expect: CapiraCurbside

I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t happy to say good-bye to 2020. But as the year winds down, we still face many uncertainties. Some changes are only temporary. I know many parents look forward to bringing their kids back to the library for storytime, for example. But other changes—those that have increased customer choice and convenience—are likely here to stay.

Given concerns about entering library buildings, interacting face to face, and handling physical materials, libraries have found ways to meet changing community needs. With varying levels of success, many have tried some form of curbside pickup, in which physical materials are reserved and retrieved from the library parking lot or drive-through, or a table outside or inside. Library staff, however, can find it challenging to manage pickup schedules or respond instantly when customers arrive.

From smaller public libraries to major library systems to academic libraries of all sizes, the first step in reopening libraries or rolling back services has often included curbside service. But without preexisting systems in place, library staff have been left with only spreadsheets and other time-intensive methods of tracking pickups.

Karen Klapperstuck, assistant director at Monroe Township (N.J.) Public Library (MTPL) explains, “We had enough on our plates without this added challenge. We decided to try CapiraCurbside to give our staff more time to better serve our community.”

The local response has been enthusiastic. “Patrons are telling us how much they love being able to reserve a book, get a notification when it’s ready, and schedule a time that’s convenient for them to come pick it up,” Klapperstuck says. “They’re in and out quickly because we know they’re coming and we know whether they want us to put the items in the trunk or in the backseat. My staff appreciate that they can deliver services in a contactless way. So everyone is happier!”

As the pandemic continues, CapiraCurbside offers flexibility to adjust service offerings as needed. In early November, for example, MTPL had to re-close for two weeks after a staff member contracted COVID-19. The library quickly adjusted processes, but the city asked it to reopen with curbside service only. CapiraCurbside helped staff pivot to provide the essential services the community relies on.

CapiraCurbside is a simple curbside pickup solution for both academic and public libraries. Learn more at


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