If you’ve visited the Wellington, Hagen Ranch Road, Lantana Road, Gardens, Jupiter or Okeechobee Blvd. branch libraries lately, you may have noticed some new equipment. Automated devices have been installed for dropping off books and checking out materials, including DVDs.
To use the Library Mate to return items, just follow the instructions on a touch screen. Returned items are scanned, fed into the machine and immediately removed from your account. The returned items travel on a conveyor belt and dropped into the correct bin identified by the scanner. Staff removes the items from the bins for reshelving or transfer to another location.
Most branch libraries also have express-check machines, so patrons can avoid the line at the desk. At a self-check unit, patrons follow the instructions on the screen, scan their library card, scan the barcode on the front of the item, grab the receipt and go.
Some branch libraries have DVD dispensers that work much like the now-familiar “Red Box.” New and popular DVD cases are on the shelves. You pick out a DVD, take the case to the DVD dispenser, scan your library card and the barcode on the front of the case, and the selection will pop up out of the slot. The DVD dispenser can also be used to check out books and CDs.
Library Mate and the express check-out stations are radio frequency identification devices (RFID). For added security, the library is installing gates with RFID technology to provide notification if materials aren’t checked out properly. All of this equipment is part of the library’s automation initiative.
Last year, the library circulated 8.5 million items resulting in staff processing 17 million items. The automated improvements mean employees can spend less time processing materials and more time assisting patrons.