Mr. Smith said a patron could place six to eight books on the machine at a time, insert a library card and have the books scanned and checked out. He said books would have a digital card inside for scanning. The price of the system, which he said would be the only one he knows of in the Augusta area, would exceed $200,000.
In the long run, though, he said, “it’s for staff-cost savings. We won’t have to have as many people at the circulation desk, and it’s a self-service concept.”
Mr. Smith said officials also are considering offering patrons a smart card.
“You can actually go up to the circulation desk and say, ‘Could you put $35 on my smart card?’ That will allow you to put the card in a copier to pay for copies, and it also will allow you to pay fines,” he said.
Mr. Smith said the card also might be used for patrons to pay for a cup of coffee at a coffee shop that will be inside the library building.
Mr. Smith said a final innovation being looked at with the new library is a means by which patrons could be notified when a book is due back. He said a patron could check out a book and be able to choose to have a reminder sent via e-mail.
I’m hoping if they do go the smart card route, they’ll put in some smart card machines, with which you can add money to your card yourself. That would go right along with the self-service concept.
Depending on where Sean and I end up moving next June, I may become a member of this library! (I’m still holding out hope for North Augusta. We’ll see.)