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* Saturday, April 9, 2005

Lansing PL Is Shifting!

Another one of my member libraries has been shifting like crazy lately, but I just recently realized how far. The Lansing Public Library started with blogs, four of them to be exact, which of course gives them RSS feeds. (Well, when Blogger is working these days, it does, but that’s not LPL’s fault.)

Then Kelli Staley emailed me that they’ve been doing the instant messaging thing, too. Since October. Aaron, they’re drinking your Kool-Aid! I especially like that they’re using icons on their pages to indicate presence (online versus offline), which is IM’s big strength. Kelli wrote, “Our library is on 2 levels, so we have separate screen names for different age groups. AskLPLAdult, AskLPLTeen, AskLPLYouth (we're on Yahoo & AOL).” She went on to note that a few weeks ago, they received IMs from students in Florida and Ohio. Those two requests are from students who couldn’t IM their local library. Can your students IM yours?

But LPL didn’t stop there, as the next message from Kelli illustrated:

Lansing Public Library has partnered with the office of Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka to offer a new service called E-Pay. The E-Pay program was launched by Topinka’s office in 2000 under a state master services agreement that is available for all counties and local governments in Illinois to participate in. ‘We are pleased to help move the library into the 21st century.’ Assistant Library Director Patricia Higgins said, ‘Our E-Pay electronic payment service will provide greater convenience to the community and increase the services offered by the library.’

The Library’s E-Pay service has started with fee payment and donations to Friends of Lansing Public Library. E-Pay will allow you to make your payments over the Internet with cardholders of MasterCard, American Express and Discover card brands. A transaction, or user fee, is added to the payment amount for the convenience of the Internet service. The state and local participants who use this program do not receive any revenue from the convenience fee.
It’s not PayPal, but it’s a heckuva step in the right direction. Reciprocal borrowers with outstanding fines and fees are even eligible to use this service - how cool is that? Keep up the great work, LPL!
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