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Ogdensburg library inventory benefits from technology donation

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Ogdensburg Public Library could be a year ahead of schedule in finishing up its first book inventory in more than 20 years, thanks to some high-technology generosity.

“We’re three years into it,” said Wayne L. Miller, the library’s director, on Wednesday. “We’re making great progress.”

Great progress to wrap it up by next year in large part because of $6,000 in donated software that was given to the library by TechSoup, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization.

“This comes from a not-for-profit, West Coast organization that gets big companies to donate software and hardware they then give to libraries and other not for profits,” Mr. Miller said. “Pretty good organization.”

Actually, TechSoup charges what Mr. Miller calls “a small administrative fee.” In Ogdensburg’s case, it came to $600.

The donors include Oracle and Microsoft.

In its current online newsletter, TechSoup describes Mr. Miller and the daunting scope of the years-long inventory.

“As a young cook working in kitchens and resorts throughout the East Coast, Wayne Miller made it a point to satisfy his customers. Miller eventually left the food industry to embark on what would become a 30-plus-year career in libraries, but he still aims to deliver a satisfying experience to patrons as executive director of the Ogdensburg Public Library.”

Mr. Miller picked it up from there.

“I have a very strong customer service ethic, and so that’s why I’m in librarianship,” he told TechSoup. “I like cooking because putting a plate of food in front of someone who enjoys eating it is the same kind of satisfaction.”

Under the ongoing inventory process, library volunteers take each book from the shelf. Using a laptop computer, they get its record and make corrections if necessary.

If it turns out that a book hasn’t circulated in five years, it is moved to a “book truck” for a librarian to decide if it should be kept or tossed. Books and other materials that are damaged or in need of repair or replacement are also set aside.

Mr. Miller said the inventory has recently accounted for the library’s mystery books section and has moved on to science fiction.

Mr. Miller said the fresh inventory means up-to-date records, better serving library patrons and ensuring they’ll return.

“There’s nothing worse than a customer looking up, identifying an item in a catalog that they desire, going to the shelf, and it’s not there,” he told TechSoup.

The library is located at 312 Washington St. In 2011, it logged 45,000 visits and loaned 62,000 items.

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