03 December, 2007

Exciting new technology @ Rosanna library

This Wednesday morning at Rosanna library we are going live with our new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) library system. This is a pilot and we want to ensure everything is working as it should before the other branches go live in the new year.
The main change for borrowers is that they will check their own materials out using express check machines. There are 3 units specially designed to make this task very easy. As well as checking out materials, library members can find out what is on their account and renew materials, even if they don't have the items with them.
The reason we have introduced this technology is to make circulation easy, quick and safe. Easy and quick for borrowers, and safer for staff who currently lend out 3.6 million items a year. By reducing the amount of manual handling by this amount our staff will be available to provide more assistance, whether that is running a computer class, finding answers to questions or suggesting a good book to read. Staff are not losing their jobs - but they will be working differently. And there will always be someone on hand to assist if there are any issues.
The way RFID works is that a chip is placed in each item that acts like a smart barcode. The smart part is that it doesn't need line of sight or contact to read - which means that 5 - 6 items can be checked out at the one time. There's no need to line up barcodes - just swipe your new borrower card, place the items on the designated spot and the items are lent out to you and the security bit is switched off. When the items are returned, the security bit gets switched on again. The gates are able to identify the particular item that hasn't been properly charged out.
Implementing RFID is an important step forward for the library service. Libraries are so much more than lending out books, and over the past few years there have been many more programs and activities run in libraries, more classes and more services. Library staff this year have been learning about the social networking technologies that are changing the way people interact on line and there are some very exciting developments in store for next year as we start incorporating these into our library offerings. And its not just about technology - we will foster more book clubs, have more time to implement programs that encourage the love of reading and provide more resources in readers advisory.
This new initiative is about improving our services and about freeing up staff to provide connections to people, information, resources, events and programs. I'll be interested to hear your feedback and comments on the new system.


Rachele said...

Hi Rosanna,
Over in South Australia we have been viewing your Web 2.0 initiatives at Yarra Plenty library with a lot of interest.
How did you make the decision about which blogs to start with?

Have you had much feedback from the public about your use of blogs?

Webgurl said...

I might have to venture over to Rosanna and check out your RFID system. Sounds exciting!

Also, I love your pixelly header for your blog.

Cheers, webgurl

Tricia said...

"The reason we have introduced this technology is to make circulation easy, quick and safe. Easy and quick for borrowers, and safer for staff who currently lend out 3.6 million items a year."

Safer for staff? If your intention is to make life safer for your staff, why aren't you providing more up to date equipment. I have seen staff at your branches wheel around unwieldy trolleys overloaded with books, and inadquate dumpbins. I have glimpses staff picking up loads of books off the floor, where they come in through the returns chute. Surely this is backbreaking work, and could be made easier by providing appropriate equipment.

yplearning said...

Hi Rachele
we started with a general library blog which was more of an events calendar, and then we started the local history blog and the genealogy blog, which have been well received. Finally came our reading blog which is staff reviews of books.
I have been pleased that we are getting feedback especially on this blog.

yplearning said...

Hi Tricia
thanks for your feedback. Occupational Health and Safety is a really important issue for us as it is in all public libraries where there is a lot of manual handling. We are currently updating the dump bins in libraries - the trouble is that no dump bins can cope with peak returns over weekends and closed days. We are also implementing a replacement plan for the big book trolleys. Our staff are provided with ongoing training on correct manual handling procedures.