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GPL debuts virtual account management

GPL debuts virtual account management

The Gretna Public Library plans to launch a new service this week that will meet a longtime community need.

After about six months of planning, GPL will debut its new online service, allowing current patrons to renew their accounts from home and welcoming new patrons with full library accounts in a completely contactless way.

The service will also allow customers to use credit cards and checking accounts to pay fines and other fees, report a lost or stolen card and keep their account information accurate.

“This really streamlines (the process) for both the patrons and us,” said Assistant Library Director Rebecca McCorkindale, who spearheaded the project. “We want to make getting a library card as easy and possible and to make that happen much more quickly. We’re just excited to provide this service and think it’s going to be a really nice way to reach out, even while we’re closed.”

The project has long been on the minds of library staff.

“It seemed long overdue even when we started here over a decade ago,” McCorkindale said. “It takes time for these things to move forward and just the day to day of trying to run a split library took priority. Researching and delving into this was just one more thing that kept being put on the backburner as other issues arose.”

While the ongoing pandemic keeps library doors closed — the library currently only offers curbside service and online programs — it seemed the right time to explore the idea.

“We want people to be able to have full library account access as much as they can with the libraries being closed,” McCorkindale said.

After receiving approval from the library board, McCorkindale set to work with the City of Gretna and Nebraska Interactive, a group that helps government agencies with their websites. It was the first time the group had worked with a library.

“It was kind of fun working with them,” she said. “We laid out our central framework and they were able to bring it to life.”

GPL is the first library in Sarpy County to offer the service, though library staff hope their integration of the system will pave the way for other local libraries.

“It really frees up time for everyone in Gretna and beyond with not having to come in,” McCorkindale said. “People can do it from a distance and we’ll mail them their card. It’s completely contactless.

“Even when the buildings are open again, it will be a great option for busy parents.”

The new account management service can be accessed at once it goes live this week.

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The City of Gretna was busy in 2020, laying the infrastructure and groundwork for many projects expected to get underway in 2021.

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