Textile Center Pat O’Connor Library
Nancy Mambi, Librarian
Minneapolis is home to a strong, diverse and vibrant arts scene. The city is dotted with hundreds of studio spaces that feature artists ranging from jewelry makers, potters and painters to actors, dancers and other performers.
One of these spaces is a renovated 1920’s brick building known as the Textile Center, a national organization that supports fiber artists and textile art groups. The Center library is home to America’s largest collection of fiber art resource material. If you’re looking for books, magazines or videos on knitting, quilting, weaving, buttons, doll making or other textile arts – this is the place to find them!
Overseeing the collection is librarian Nancy Mambi, who arrived at the Textile Centre in early 2005. At the time, the library had an out-of-date system that was frustrating to use and impossible to get support for. One day Nancy reached her limit and decided that she “wasn’t going to use that stupid system anymore”, prompting a search for a better alternative.
Nancy is the first to admit that she has neither the proficiency nor the inclination to deal with technical issues. So when she discovered thatSurpass Software could host her entire system, she was thrilled. “I never have to worry about downloads, updates or maintenance. Surpasstakes care of it all,” says Nancy. “For a small non-profit organization without an IT department, that is a real plus.”
The library installed Surpass Software in 2007 and has never looked back. In addition to Nancy, there are over 30 volunteers who take turns operating the library during late afternoon and early evening shifts. Even with non-library backgrounds, these volunteers find the system easy and intuitive to use.
The 26,000-volume library is actually a consolidation of 15 smaller library collections that are owned by various guilds and organizations. Centralizing them in one location allows for improved accessibility, as the library can stay open for longer and more consistent hours than each group could offer on its own.
Each organization retains ownership of its own collection, and pays a small annual fee for all of its members to have full library privileges. This allows artists and patrons to enjoy a wider variety of material from many specialties, making it a win-win situation for all.
The nature of the library requires Nancy to produce unique reports, as each guild or organization is looking for specific information regarding its collection. Surpass gives her great flexibility to easily produce exactly what she wants every time. “Wow, you can do that?” is a response she hears often from appreciative clients.
The system is also a hit with the patrons, who enjoy the online search capability. As the opening hours vary depending on volunteer availability, the library use uses the “Events” page to inform them of the library’s daily schedule and who will be there.
Regarding customer support, Nancy appreciates that no issue is too large or too small for the Surpass service team to handle. “Everyone is so kind and helpful,” she states. “They deal with quirky issues and little things so patiently without getting ruffled.”
Nancy goes on to state that the mark of a great system is when you don’t even think about it: because everything just works so efficiently. This has definitely been her experience with Surpass. She highly recommendsSurpass for any small organization that is looking for an affordable and worry-free library automation solution.
Information on the Textile Center can be found at www.textilecentermn.org