November 22, 2017

Contra Costa County Library Gets $45K Grant for Virtual Museum Pass Program

Libraries that offer reservable complimentary museum passes generally require patrons to go to a branch to pick up physical passes, but an online approach is on its way from the Contra Costa County Library (CCCL), based in Pleasant Hill, CA. If development proceeds as planned, it could soon also be used by other California libraries.

CCCL recently announced that it has received a $45,000 Bay Area Library and Information System (BALIS) grant to co-develop a consortia-based virtual museum-pass system, dubbed Discover & Go, with library software developer the Quipu Group. Alameda County Library, Fremont, CA, is co-piloting the system.

The initial version of the service was launched on January 31, and is currently limited to authenticated CCCL cardholders. (CCCL has 26 community libraries in northern California.) The museums are searchable in the main CCCL catalog, with each record containing a link to the pass-reservation system. Patrons can reserve passes online for more than 30 institutions taking part in the program, including museums, zoos, and performance venues. They can then print passes remotely for use at the venue.

Cross-consortia plans
The eventual aim is to expand the project to include multiple library systems. According to Cathy Sanford, CCCL’s deputy county librarian, support services, the library is now working with Alameda County on the pass reservation system because it is on a different ILS platform than CCCL, which uses the Library Corporation’s CARL.X. “[A]s Innovative Interfaces [Millennium] is the platform for the majority of San Francisco Bay Area libraries, we needed an Innovative Interfaces library to test the cross-functionality before offering [the system] up to the other libraries,” she told LJ via email.

Currently, the software only interfaces with CARL.X borrower records. The aim is to finish development within the next six months, but Sanford said, “both Contra Costa and Quipu work very quickly together, so we may actually beat this time frame.”

The Quipu Group had previously worked with CCCL on Snap & Go, CCCL’s mobile site that uses QR codes to access various services. That project received a $60,000 BALIS grant in December 2009.

David Rapp About David Rapp

David Rapp (drapp@mediasourceinc.com) was formerly Associate Editor, LJ.

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