Lisa Faliano is a senior library clerk for the books. In 2015, she saved the Denver Public Library $184,280 in soft costs through three innovations. The largest of the three was the DePop process. “Most likely your response to hearing the Denver Public Library term “DePop” is De-WHAT?,” said Faliano. “Back in the day, our new popular books were named “Pop”. When the time came to move these books into our regular circulating collection, these labels were removed in a process called DePopping.”

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The Denver Public Library processes over 6,000 new books into their collection each month. That’s approximately 72,000 books a year. The catalog records for existing new books must be updated six months after they are added to the Denver Public Library’s collection. This process was done at the start of each month by frontline staff. The books were pulled from the shelf, sorted by collection code, scanned into a computer, item records were recorded, and new labels were removed from the spines. The new books that were checked out by Denver’s voracious readers missed out on this process until they were returned to the shelf. Each step in the process was assigned to frontline staff who were not trained in book processing. In addition, the new books out with residents missed the initial process, which resulted in inconsistencies in item record data. This meant that the DePopping processes lasted throughout the entire month with only 67% of new items being DePopped correctly.

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Through innovation, Faliano and colleagues decided to have all new books auto-DePopped at the start of each month. A staff member created a bulk change to be piloted to test this idea. The multi-step process was then reduced to one step (removing a label) that could be done by anyone, even volunteers. All new books are now being DePopped with 100% accuracy, saving 375,300 minutes of staff time or $179,800.93 per year. Now frontline staff have more time to focus on meeting customer needs and the library can also ensure accurate collection data for library patrons.

“Staff is our most valued asset at Denver Public Library,” said Faliano. “Coming up with an innovation that frees up time spent on the behind-the-scenes process is a big win for the community.”

Lisa Faliano, Denver Public Library

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