The library has three new self-checkout stations, two at the main circulation desk and one in the children’s department. Our recent visitors Elephant and Piggie decided to study them while they were at the Summer Learning kickoff party. They were intrigued by the colorful lights and cute little characters they saw on the screen. It seemed like magic to them, but it is the result of hard work from all of the staff at the library.

In February of this year, library staff started preparing for the new equipment. They attached a tag to each item, then encoded it with information so it can be checked out. That process was repeated over 112,000  times (and still continues) which shows you the magnitude of what the staff achieved.  

The self-checkout station uses RFID technology which sends a radio signal from the checkout station to the book, checking it out. Patrons can stack 4 or 5 books at a time to be checked out, and even more if the books are children’s books. If the library item does not have a tag, patrons can scan the barcode. The checkout slips not only show what has been checked that day, but the total number of items and how many holds are on the account. Patrons can even check their account and print off a receipt to help keep track of borrowed items. In the future, the library will be purchasing book returns that use the RFID technology to check in books immediately after being put in a book return.

Library patrons have found the stations easy to use, and the two characters, named Bean and Bop, add a bit of whimsy to the transactions. The library can choose different colors and themes for the stations throughout the year to fit the season. Rest assured, library staff will always be happy to check out materials at the circulation desks for people who would rather not use the self-checkout.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services,
administered by the Indiana State Library.