Archive for Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New book-scanning technology arriving at Shawnee library

Branch will close two days while installation takes place

March 7, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: March 6, 2012, 5:05 p.m.

Soon, the Shawnee library will have the same technology for books and audio-visual equipment that many retail outlets and corporations use to manage inventory.

The Johnson County Library is in the process of installing radio frequency identification equipment at all 13 library locations. The Shawnee library, 13811 Johnson Drive, will close Tuesday and Wednesday while the new technology is installed there.

A special sticker, or “tag,” consisting of a computer chip and an antenna will be applied to every circulating item, according to the library. The computer chip will be programmed with the item’s barcode number and have a security code that can be turned on or off. 

The project also includes equipment to read and process the tags.

If someone attempts to leave the library with an item that hasn’t been properly checked out, a security gate will alert staff.

Last year, library cardholders checked out 4.7 million items countywide, an average of 13,500 items per day, according to the library.

In addition to preventing theft, the technology will allow the library to track items as they are checked in, checked out, shelved and moved from location to location.

After the cost of installing the new equipment, about $710,000, the library expects to save about $787,360 in the first year, according to numbers provided on the library’s website. Savings are based on avoiding stolen or missing items, which currently number in the thousands.

Library staff started installing the technology earlier this year and hopes to have equipment in place at all branches by the end of April.

The Shawnee library’s outdoor book drop will remain open during the two-day closure. Materials sent to the Shawnee library by patron request will be held a few extra days to allow patrons to pick them up when the library reopens.

To read more about the radio frequency identification project, visit jocolibrary.org/RFID.

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