Like most libraries today, the library at University of Plymouth needs to make its back office processes as lean as possible whilst safeguarding - and enhancing - the user experience. So why did the library choose to develop an electronic payment system to achieve this?
The Payment Problem
The lack of payment options for library fines and charges were sharply at odds with student expectations at the university. Library fines and charges could only be paid for at the library counter (where cash, cheques and credit cards were accepted) or by telephone (for credit card payments; the only alternative for distance learners). Both options were restricted to the library's opening hours.
Meanwhile, considerable staff time was being wasted through inefficient workflows that had evolved to administer those payments. The library sent reports to Finance of individual transactions from Ex Libris Voyager, the University of Plymouth's library management system, which finance staff then had to rekey into Agresso, the university's finance system. On top of this was a huge amount of cash handling every day, hours of banking, and the manual reconciliation of spreadsheets between the library and Finance.