WiLS July 2017 Vendor Partner Interview: Heidi van Gennep, Demco Software
At WiLS, we want to bring valuable information to our library partners, including information about the missions and big ideas of the vendors they may already do business with. Each month, WiLS interviews a vendor partner in order to bridge the gap and open the door to valuable collaborations. This month, we are delighted to share insights from Heidi van Gennep, Account Executive with Demco Software.
Tell us about your company’s background.
Demco Software was formed in 2017 after Demco, Inc united its software divisions: Evanced Solutions (SignUp, Spaces, D!BS, Wandoo Reader) and Boopsie, Inc. In December 2016 we added BrainHQ and announced DiscoverLocal at ALA this past June. Demco Software’s goal is to provide the next level of innovative solutions for libraries. Our integrated suite of community engagement solutions positions libraries for success now and into the future.
Why do you, personally, choose to work with libraries?
It’s all about the lifelong discovery libraries offer! When I was five, my father picked me up from preschool and declared that we were going to the library to get my first library card. This was a big deal: first, it was extra special that he picked me up at school and second, all the teachers threw up their arms in excitement. I didn’t know then what a library really was, but I came out of it with a real-deal plastic library card and a sticker to boot. In high school, I found a wonderful collection of historical archives in the same library which ignited my passion for collecting unusual black and white or sepia toned pictures whenever I’m in antique stores. In college, my roommate had a work-study in the periodicals room in the library on campus and we discovered the microfiche. We’d spend hours poring over articles in papers from the early 1900s.
What do you like to know about the libraries you work with? What helps you better understand their needs?
I love anytime a library explains to me their demographic, their strategic plan, their internal or city politics and last, their budget. Working with them on a solution that will help their patrons, satisfy a mission statement, or navigate any internal goings-on excites the analytical part of my personality. I care to create a relationship with every library I work with, and that information can often be the foundation.
I care to create a relationship with every library I work with.
What big ideas are being worked on at your company? What problems are being solved?
A big problem has become the lack of awareness a community can have about what a library offers beyond books. Our solution to this problem became DiscoverLocal, which was announced at ALA in Chicago. Using geotags, we bring the library’s books, special collections, and events to the top of a Google (or Bing, or Yahoo) page when someone does a search. For example, no one thinks to type ‘yoga at X public library’ but they WILL search ‘yoga studios,’ or ‘yoga near me’. With DiscoverLocal, your library’s weekly free yoga class would be at the top of that search.
How can librarians become partners in product or training development?
We are looking for partners all the time! We are in a partner year with DiscoverLocal and have exciting things on the horizon with Boopsie as well as looking at taking advantage of our existing software for room reservation and looking at ways to apply that to makerspace management. We are asking libraries all the time for training ideas beyond our monthly boot camps and often will implement these ideas.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share here?
Heidi van Gennep grew up north of Boston, moved to Chicago on a whim, and now lives in Saint Louis with her puppy, Danny Zuko. She’s worked with libraries for nearly 12 years and still has her first library card.
This interview is part of a series of interviews with both WiLS library and vendor partners. Your feedback is appreciated. If you have any to offer on this article or suggestions for upcoming interviews, contact Andrea Coffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.