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Redford Township District Library creates a thriving community hub with help from BILL

Customer Stories >

Redford Township District Library creates a thriving community hub with help from BILL

Albert Einstein once said, "The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library." As usual, the father of modern physics was ahead of his time, but even Einstein could not have predicted the vital role that libraries have come to play in today’s America. Libraries have become indispensable “third places”—key community centers beyond home and work—that connect residents with resources, services, and socializing opportunities. For Garrett Hungerford, Director of the Redford Township District Library, the capacity to act as a community hub has become part of the core purpose of his organization.“Since my very first job, shelving books in my hometown library, libraries have been my career and my whole life,” Hungerford shares. “Our mission boils down to meeting the needs of the community.”

With COVID-19 as a catalyst, Redford Township District Library became much more than a place to get books, (although they still have plenty of those). Notes Hungerford, “I think the pandemic really allowed libraries to pivot in an amazing way.”

As the organization’s community-first mindset transformed into a lifeline for residents, Redford Township District Library turned to BILL to streamline financial operations so they could focus on expanding services and supporting patrons.

Exterior of Redford Township District Library

“While it used to take us a week to get our expenses in order, now at the end of the month everything has already been entered and is ready to go. That saves us a lead time of seven days.”

An oasis of community, amidst a convoluted financial process

Even before the pandemic, the library had already taken great strides to support the community by launching curbside service for pickup and drop off of books.

“And then, gosh,” remembers Hungerford, “just a few months later, because of COVID, we were 100 percent curbside and we had patrons coming up with lawn chairs and laptops every day to use the internet. Plus we invested in mobile hotspots that our patrons could check out for home internet access.”

Later, the board fast tracked a patio space so that patrons could enjoy outdoor programming and a drive through to make dropping off and picking up items even easier. With all these investments, Redford Township Library was averaging $100,000 in transactions per month and realized they needed a better way of managing payments.

Due to an old arrangement, the township was still doing all of the accounts payable for Redford Township District Library. This financial process led to a lot of redundancies, both on the accounting side and with paying bills.

“The AP process was convoluted. When bills came to us, our business and facilities manager would make physical copies of all of the invoices, enter those into our homebrew system, print out warrant requests, and then I would physically sign them,” describes Hungerford. “Then he would drive those documents to the township where they would process the invoices, enter them into their system, and pay them out. At the end of the week, he would drive back to pick up the checks and bring them back to Redford to mail them out. It was a horrible system.”

“Our AP process prior to BILL was convoluted … it was a horrible system.” – Garrett Hungerford, Director, Redford Township District Library

Prior to the pandemic, the organization had already made the decision to switch accounting systems to be more digital. To accomplish that goal, the library chose BILL.

Modern finance for the modern library with BILL

BILL completely automated the way the library pays their bills. “I feel like I'm doing a better job as a Director because before I could only see the vendor and the amount, I wasn't seeing the invoice,” explains Hungerford. “Now I can verify the amounts as part of the approval process.” And best of all, it only takes him five minutes to get the weekly batch approved and paid.

Automation also reduces errors. “With BILL, we don’t have to worry about the numbers. When the numbers have been added and verified by another set of eyes, we can be confident that they are error free,” says Hungerford.

Thanks to BILL’s AI, entering invoices is quick and easy. “We set up an AP email so now all invoices go into a single email address. With BILL, these invoices auto-populate,” Hungerford says. And making payments is easy too.

“Having the ability with BILL to combine all the invoices for a vendor into a single check for that one vendor makes it much easier,” says Hungerford. Many of their vendors have started to use epay or direct pay, which also speeds up payments. All they have to do is plug in the payment information to complete an electronic transfer.

“With BILL, we don’t have to worry about the numbers. When the numbers have been added and verified by another set of eyes, we can be confident that they are error free.” – Garrett Hungerford, Director, Redford Township District Library
Interior of Redford Township District Library

The library also uses BILL to export financial data into their accounting software. “Like many nonprofits, we use MIP Fund Accounting as our accounting software. We’re able to easily export payments and invoices from BILL and load directly into MIP. This saves us a good chunk of time,” remarks Hungerford.

Hungerford’s favorite feature? Ironically for a book lover, it was getting rid of all the paper. “I hate paper,” laughs Hungerford. “Going digital with BILL means that I don’t have to deal with paper all over the place. With BILL, I can see everything in one command center,” Hungerford continues. “When it comes to retrieving a file, I can quickly pull up the vendor and see historically what we were paying them each month. It is actually faster to get that financial insight with BILL than with our accounting software.”

“With BILL, I can see everything in one command center.” – Garrett Hungerford, Director, Redford Township District Library

Empowering staff with automated expense management

Redford Township District Library also uses  for a variety of expenses across functions. The Facilities team uses their card to purchase maintenance materials. IT purchases hardware and employees use cards to sign up for online training courses. And youth librarians are buying craft supplies like pipe cleaners and cotton balls.

Prior to BILL Spend & Expense, they were using Comerica for their bank and their credit card transactions, but the process was tedious.

“I hated trying to remember to download our credit card statement and send it out for everyone to review and submit receipts. It took time away from my day,” recalls Hungerford. “And we’d always have a few receipts that would get lost and then we’d have to track them down. You’d think that librarians were organized…but we’re not always!”

Now the library receives automated reminders and they don’t have to track down receipts or payments.

“With BILL, I get notifications and can upload in the moment. No need to print anything out to save and then gather at the end of the month. I love it.” – Garrett Hungerford, Director, Redford Township District Library

BILL Spend & Expense also gives them the ability to create virtual cards. The staff all have their own accounts so they can immediately upload their own receipts. “I get notifications and can upload in the moment. No need to print anything out to save and then gather at the end of the month. I love it,” says Hungerford.

From surviving to thriving as a community hub

The library is continuing to work on expanding their services and offerings—everything from a garden seed library to a summer games collection that includes giant chess sets, corn hole, and more.

“I joke because when I go to our monthly chamber meetings, I end up talking about the upcoming library food truck,” laughs Hungerford. “But I have to finish by saying we also have books, right? Because we've just done so much with our programming.”

And the community has responded. Circulation has increased by 100% in the past year as the community moves out of the pandemic. “It's really nice to feel like we're back into the groove,” Hungerford says with a smile.

Thanks to BILL, Redford Township District Library can spend less time paying invoices, managing their finances, and keeping track of expenses—which means more time to spend on the important things: their patrons.

“I could never be a salesperson. I’m a librarian!” says Hungerford. “But every now and then you get a product and it’s so awesome that you just want to tell everyone about it. BILL is on that list.”

Redford Township District Library sign

Public library that has been serving Redford Township, MI, since 1945.


Library, Information Services

Company size



Redford, MI

Customer since 



BILL Accounts Payable

BILL Spend & Expense

Accounting software

MIP Fund Accounting

  • Redundancies on the accounting side and with bill pay
  • Convoluted, manual processes for making payments and managing expenses
  • 7 days wasted each month on closing books
  • No way to handle fraudulent activity on their bank credit cards
Key outcomes
  • Dramatically reduced time spent making payments
  • Monthly invoices approved in just five minutes
  • Expense reports ready in real time
  • As many secure virtual cards as they need

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