November 21, 2017

Natalie Caruso | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Innovators

Natalie Caruso, Brooklyn Public LibraryKeep ‘Em Moving

Natalie Caruso’s devotion to customer service happens behind the scenes rather than on the front lines. As library circulation leader for the 60-branch Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)—the fifth largest system in the nation—she has had an enormous impact on when and where patrons get materials.

Caruso joined the Highlawn Branch in 1990 as an office aide. She was following in the footsteps of her grandmother, mother, and aunt, who had worked for BPL from the late 1960s. Steady promotions brought her to her current position at BPL’s Central Library.

Called “Brooklyn” by some of her colleagues, Caruso considers her toughest professional assignment the conversion of the Highlawn Library into a self-service branch—the first in the BPL system. More recently, she revamped the interbranch loan system. Until a year ago, it took at least a week to move a book from one location to another. “Books were sitting on the loading dock instead of being in circulation,” says John Vitale, BPL’s deputy director of business administration, who chose Caruso to head up the project.

Among other actions, Caruso partnered with UPS. “The project helped us decrease customer wait time on holds from almost ten days to 24 hours,” she says. “This also helps us have more items circulating than in transit.” Her “innate sense of process resulted in a totally revamped sorting-and-delivery system that now serves 2.5 million Brooklynites with the right material at the right time,” says Vitale.

Vitals

Brooklyn Public Library, NY

POSITION Library Circulation Leader

DEGREE BA Business, University of Phoenix (online), 2009

HOBBIES Bargain shopping, antiques, party planning

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