RFID System Improves Material Availability, Faster Customer Service, and More Individual Help with Library Programs and Services
We are excited to officially announce the launch of a new, automated self-service system available at all three library locations – Bowman, Clarke County, and Handley Libraries – where patrons have the ability to borrow and renew materials at kiosks. Known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), library materials have been tagged with a special RFID antenna that communicates with the kiosks and new security system to better track items available to the public. RFID readers have been installed at the circulation desks and self-check stations, and they are able to scan multiple items at once for customer service. Bowman Library, due to the high circulation and community usage rate, also has a new return system where patrons drop materials in a slot in the wall where items are checked-in and processed on an automated conveyor belt behind the scenes – expediting the return process to get materials back out on the shelves quicker for the next patron.
The new technology is not replacing staff who normally manually check-out or renew materials, but re-distributing library professionals throughout each location so they can provide more one-on-one service to patrons with questions, how to use library services, and find the materials they are looking for. The new service module will also help the library expand programs to the community with more staff available to help.
How to Use the Self Check-Out Kiosks
- Scan your card
- Place 5-10 items on the scanner at once. They are checked out in seconds!
- Select receipt option and you are complete!
Watch the Video on the Conveyor Belt Return System at Bowman Library
“We’ve been looking at this technology for several years now,” says John Huddy, Director of Handley Regional Library System. “Similar technology is available at thousands of libraries around the nation. We spoke with consultants and other libraries already using this service so we could understand how it would impact our materials and services we provide to the public. It was important we went with a system that would be easy to use for patrons of all ages, speed up one of the many manual processes in a library not a lot of people know about, and better position staff out from behind the circulation desks to out on the library floor talking to patrons more and helping them find the right materials, and increase usage of our other services – from our digital library, online printing services, public computers, or research databases, for example.”
Huddy also reports this new system will not replace staff due to the automation.
“Throughout this entire process our intent was never to replace staff. Staff helped us evaluate vendors and technology options. We’re all excited because it has already allowed staff to interact with the public more and save a lot of time. It’s going to create a pathway for more free programs – something the community already enjoys. Our programs for kids for example can have a high number of attendees and this will help us run more structured activities. We will also be able to expand on additional programming and support other departments. We’re very excited to see the impact it is already making and what the future holds for us as we all focus on connecting more with each patron.”