Self Checkout is here!

Our brand new Self Check out system went live on Thursday 19 September with great success! The Library team decorated the floor with the Self Check colour scheme of red, black and silver with balloons, streamers and each person wearing something to match.

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573 people used the new service in the first day and were invited to leave comments on a special comment board at the exit detailing their experience with the new system. Some of the comments included: Very Easy and Quick! Fantastic time saver, and super-easy. 

The project has been in the works for several years, culminating into a hive of activity this year as 120,000 items were tagged with Radio Frequency Identification labels. The labels are crucial to the Self Check system as the RFID tags are read and decoded by the new checkouts.

Next time you’re in the Library ask one of our helpful staff to show you the new system and you’ll never look back!

 

2 weeks until self checkout

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Anstey the echidna shows us how easy self checkout is.

With less than 2 weeks until we get our brand new self checkout kiosks, our resident RFID expert Benjamin took some time to chat about this exciting project…

Why has the Library chosen to use RFID and self checkout machines?

Libraries are modern institutions and deserve to have state-of-the-art technology. In recent years RFID has started to become a standard for libraries – it saves time, improves our stock management, and will relieve staff of the strain of handling many thousands of items every year.

Where is the RFID technology coming from?

Our supplier is an Australian company called FE Technologies. They supply RFID to many other libraries, including City of Onkaparinga’s six library branches south of the city.

What are the benefits of RFID for the public?

The 5 new self checkout kiosks will eliminate queues when we’re busy. They will also free up staff from checking items in and out all day, giving us more time to help customers with other enquiries. We will be able to spend more time helping people find things or showing them how to use technology such as eBooks.

What are the benefits of RFID for library staff?

RFID will not only save us time, but it will also reduce the strain that Library work has on our bodies! Currently we check out over 950,000 items every year – then check them all back in again, one by one. With RFID that strain will be greatly reduced. Customers will check out their own items, and we’ll be able to check in several items at a time.

What do you think of the new self checkout machines?

The new machines are quick, easy and fun!

The Library will be closed on September 17 and 18 while our self checkout machines are being installed. For more information on our RFID project, see our previous blog posts.

Self checkout kiosks

Here’s a sneak peek at what our new RFID self checkout kiosks will look like:

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We will have 5 of these kiosks in the Library, to replace our current checkout counter. Now that we have this one to practise on, we can use it to train our staff in preparation for our go live day on Thursday 19 September. We’ll hopefully also get to put it near the Customer Service Desk leading up to the day so you can see how it works.

 Using these kiosks is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3:

1. Scan your library card
2. Place your items on the kiosk
3. Collect your receipt.

The kiosks are powered by RFID technology, meaning multiple items can be checked out in a matter of seconds. No more barcode scanning!

Don’t forget that the Library will be closed on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 September while our new equipment is installed – see here for more details. You can also read more about our self checkout project here.

If you have any questions, you’re welcome to post a comment below or ask a staff member on your next Library visit.

Upcoming Library closure on 17 & 18 September

Anstey self check small4On September 19 the Library will open with brand new Self Checkouts powered by modern RFID technology. You may remember our previous posts about the upcoming changes.

To install and test our new self checkout stations and RFID technology, the Library will be closed on Tuesday 17 September and Wednesday 18 September.

We will reopen at 10am on Thursday 19 September.

Our 24 hour chutes will remain open as per normal.

Tagging, tagging and more tagging

Our self checkout project is well underway and we’re in the middle of preparing the collection for our go-live date in September. You might have been to our book sale earlier this year, or maybe you’ve seen staff and volunteers weeding old items out of the collection. Now we’re up to the tagging stage.

When we launch self checkout in September, the equipment we use to scan items will change. Instead of using scanners to read the barcode on the back of a book or DVD, special pads on our new self checkout kiosks will detect the information on an RFID tag that will be attached to each item. This equipment can scan multiple items at a time, so checking your books out will be much quicker!

Here’s what we’ve been doing with each item that needs an RFID tag:

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1. We scan the item at one of our Tagging Stations
2. The printer creates a unique RFID tag for the item
3. The label is attached inside the cover
4. Only 119,999 to go!

We’re hoping to get everything in the collection tagged over the next 7 weeks. We’ve just started on the magazine section – if you need anything from an area we’re working in, just ask and we’ll help you find what you need.

Self checkout is coming

This year we started work on our latest major project – self checkout!

There’s a lot to tell you about it, so we’ll post regular updates to let you know what we’re up to. Here are the basics for now…

Why self checkout?

The aim of this project is to embrace the latest in library technology – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – to improve the speed and accuracy of our everyday work. Every library item will have an RFID  tag, enabling them to be scanned via radio waves instead of the old barcode scanners. It’s faster than our current process and will be accurate, private and convenient for you.

What will be different for me?

When you want to borrow something, you will be able to bring it up to one of our brand new self checkout machines. You just place your card on the desigated spot on the machine, put up to 5 items at a time on top, and collect your receipt at the end.

Anstey borrowing books

What about the current self checkout machine in the Library?

You may have noticed that our current self checkout machine is looking a bit outdated, and doesn’t always work as well as it should. The new machines replacing this will be much better – and they can check out DVDs too!

What is the Library doing now to prepare?

We’ve been ‘weeding’ the collection to clear up anything that’s old, unused or easily replaced. We are holding regular book sales to sell everything that we take off the shelves – keep an eye out for the next one.

We are also in the process of putting an RFID tag in each of our items. We’ll tell you more about this soon.

When is self checkout coming to the Library?

 We’re hoping to launch in mid September. Stay tuned for more information.

Won’t self checkout mean that library staff will lose their jobs?

No! There won’t be any fewer staff around, but our role out in the Library will change. As well as helping you use the self checkout units we’ll also have more time to show you around, help you place items on hold, locate a hard-to-find book or help set up your smart device for eBooks.