New library will have self-service terminals

The new Pelsall Library will have self-service terminals, it has been revealed.

It will be one of seven main libraries across the borough that will allow library users to check their own books in and out.

They are also being placed in Walsall Central Library, Aldridge, Bloxwich, Brownhills, Darlaston and Willenhall.

D-Tech International Ltd has been awarded the contract to install 17 self-service terminals as part of the £232,800 Radio Frequency Identification Systems(RFID) project funded through the council’s capital programme.

Tags are being placed on 200,000 books ahead of the installation of the terminals.

Together with issuing and discharging books the scanners will be able to check out other items available for hire, renew items, take payments and list reservations. Customers will receive a receipt detailing any payments they have made and the return date.

Councillor Anthony Harris, Walsall Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “It is important to stress this is not about replacing staff with self service technology but about listening to our customers.

“The terminals will release staff from behind the counters to spend more time with customers answering their enquiries, offering more in-depth help and support and running courses/groups.

“RFID will also make our service more efficient by reducing the queues of people waiting to check items in and out and enable staff to locate exactly where items are on the shelves.”

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3 Responses to New library will have self-service terminals

  1. janet says:

    I’m sure the staff will be be relieved to hear that its not about replacing them – I’ve heard that one before!

  2. Will the scanners be able to take CASH payments? Essential, unless planning to waive all fines for any library users too young to possess a credit/debit card! Also rather sceptical that this was introduced in response to customer demand – judging by the un-popularity of self-scan checkouts at supermarkets, I find it hard to believe that the public were clamouring for automated library checkouts. Let’s face it, this is about cutting staff costs, whatever the councillor says. And even that’s debatable, since the capital costs of equipment, plus the one-off exercise of RFID-tagging every item of existing bookstock will take a long time to recoup (especially when factoring in the full “True Cost of Ownership”, which will include annual maintenance costs on the equipment and software). Has anyone done a proper Business Case for this exercise – or is it just yet another “Make It So” bright idea?

  3. martin says:

    The Luddites are out again, I see
    Cutting staff and cutting staff costs aren’t the same thing, are they Mr Vincent?
    If you can run a library more cheaply then why wouldn’t you?
    You don’t always have to sack people to cut costs; if you install a machine to do the simple, repetitive bit that frees the (trained and educated) human to to do the soft stuff (‘soft’ in the HR sense, not ‘saft’) like talk to people; suddenly you have a service where the (trained and educated) staff aren’t too busy stamping books to help properly with enquiries

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