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Schlow, Penn State libraries partner on book return program

Patrons of Schlow and Penn State libraries can now return books at the remote drop-off locations of either library or on-site at both.
Patrons of Schlow and Penn State libraries can now return books at the remote drop-off locations of either library or on-site at both. Centre Daily Times, file

Schlow Centre Region Library and Penn State library users have an expanded list of return locations thanks to a newly formed partnership between the two libraries.

Patrons of the libraries can now return books at the remote drop-off locations of either library or on-site at both. And because of a grace period built into the agreement, books dropped off on their due dates will be considered on time despite the extra time needed to exchange the books between the libraries.

After years of Penn State books being returned at Schlow drop-off sites, which led to increased costs for Schlow, the two libraries collaborated on the solution. Cathi Alloway, Schlow’s director, said the partnership is another step in connecting the two libraries and improving customer service.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make it easier for customers, and we think it’s a lot easier for people to combine errands and return items to whichever library they happen to be closest to,” Alloway said. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the customers and it’s good for the libraries because we get our stuff back.”

Over the past few years, the libraries have been fostering their relationship with initiatives, such as the short story dispenser, which is an electronic kiosk — installed at Schlow by Penn State — that prints out one-, three- or five-minute short stories. Staff members of each library have also been sharing training sessions, Alloway said.

“These are things that just 10 years ago were unheard of,” Alloway said. “And I think its really enhancing the experience for the customers.”

Since the program was rolled out last week, Alloway said she’s received positive, as well as unexpected, responses.

“There have been people that have come up to me and said, ‘I didn’t know that the public could get a library card at Penn State,’ ” Alloway said. “By state regulation, they are one of the resource libraries of the commonwealth, and the entire public can use them.”

Pennsylvania residents with a current, state-issued ID can register for a resident borrower’s card, which allows them to borrow up to 100 circulating items over a 28-day loan period.

“This whole program is illuminating people to the wealth of resources that we have here in Centre County,” Alloway said. “We are fully committed to building on this program and strengthening the ties between the two libraries.”

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi

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