May 24, 2011 — DENVER, CO – The partners of Quipu Group, in conjunction with Contra Costa County Library, are pleased to announce the first implementation of an emerging online and mobile application which allows libraries and cultural institutions to maximize their relationships with the community by providing virtual 24/7 access to free or discount passes. Cultural Connections, implemented by Contra Costa County Library as Discover & Go, gives library users the ability to make reservations for cultural passes online by desktop or mobile, eliminating the need to physically pick up passes. Since passes expire automatically, users no longer need to physically return passes, avoiding any possible overdue fines.

“When Contra Costa County Library (CCCL) implemented its Discover & Go program in late January, the immediate response from those reserving passes and the cultural institutions was extremely positive,” reports Robert Anderson from the Quipu Group. “You know you’re doing the right thing when you get fan mail like this,” he continued—

“As an unemployed single parent with a 10 year old, I was thrilled to hear about Discover and Go. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get my son and his friends to educational venues that are fun, which I would not have otherwise been able to afford. A big thanks for CCCL for coordinating that resource.”

Library staff also appreciates being removed from the pass reservation process, which often resulted in long lines and patron frustration when passes ran out. With Cultural Connections in place, patrons make their own reservations, and are authenticated utilizing the SIP2 protocol. Available cultural passes are presented to patrons based on the library’s participation, dates available, and patron’s age, zip code, and other qualifiers. The patrons will only see passes available specifically to them.

Administration of Cultural Connections is done through a centralized management module. QR codes are used on the virtual passes to provide extra security for the printed pass. Reservations are based on a complex algorithm to ensure the patron is getting a valid pass provided by the cultural institution. With Cultural Connections, participating partners can work with the library to target a subsection of patrons and to maintain more accurate control of when passes are offered, including black-out dates.

Audrey Yamamoto, Executive Director at Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum, says “Contra Costa County Library provides accessible programming and educational resources that are aligned with our mission to nurture the 3C’s of 21st century literacy— Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication—in all youth and families.” As an added bonus, exhibit-related recommended reading lists, hand-selected by library staff, are also available from the Discover & Go website.

Quipu Group is continuing development on the application, including mobile access and the creation of a consortial model. For more information, please visit the Cultural Connections Public Demo (http://ccdemo.quipugroup.com).

About Quipu Group:
Quipu Group, LLC is a library-specific software development and consulting company. Our goal is to provide consulting and technical assistance to the library community, helping libraries and library service providers in solving the technological problems they face today, bringing over 30 years of combined experience to every project. Before forming Quipu Group, the partners developed, maintained, and enhanced a number of diverse projects, including UnCover, Gold Rush, Prospector, and The Collaborative Digitization Project. Whether you need assistance with documentation and training, ILS migration, database migration, or website development, the Quipu Group has the expertise to bring the project to completion.
Contact: Robert Anderson, robert@quipugroup.com, www.quipugroup.com, ph: 800-764-8018, ext. 100.

About Contra Costa County Library:
The Contra Costa County Library serves residents countywide with 26 locations, 3 Library-a-Go-Go book dispensers, and online library services available 24/7 at ccclib.org. The Library circulates almost 7 million items annually with over 3 million virtual visits to the Library website each year. The Library is considered a leader in technology and access to information. To learn more about Contra Costa County Library, visit the website at ccclib.org.

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