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Self-Checkout of Library Books: Brilliant!

Updated on July 24, 2014

Efficiency and Cost Savings for Libraries

Today I visited the Dublin, California, Alameda County public library. New checkout technology absolutely amazed and delighted me. Similar to self-checkout systems in grocery stores, home improvement stores, gas stations - basically any retail operation - this library had two incredibly easy machines for members to checkout books on their own. No library staff is required.

A self-checkout machine in a college library.
A self-checkout machine in a college library. | Source

No More Checkout Lines

No more Marion the Librarian. Or at least fewer of them. The checkout machine scans the bar code of one's library card and then scans the bar code on each type of media being taken. Yes, it is not for books alone. I found the V-shaped trough (please see photo) used at the Dublin Library to be very helpful, because it helps position the item being scanned. The machines were quiet, they had instructions displayed on a computer monitor above the scanning area, and they gave the patron an option of having a receipt of the transaction printed out. This printing also occurs quickly and quietly. I believe that even the most technology-challenged patron could master these.

Therefore, if patrons can do the checkout, they can avoid the lines waiting for a circultion staffer to check them out. No lines, happy patrons. Less staff for circulation desk -- either less salaries to pay, or those staffers are assigned to other valuable duties.

Kudos to the Alameda County library system

I did a search of libraries with self-checkout and found precious few in the United States. Therefore, I congratulate this library on making this investment. Dublin Library, lead on!

Text copyright 2011 Maren E Morgan


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Kochavagreene, it makes sense to me - especially since the grocery stores and hardware stores have been training us to do self-checkout. Thanks for your comment!

    • KochavaGreene profile image

      KochavaGreene 6 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      My local library has this now too and I love it. No lines! My librarians now have more time to help folks who need it, read to kids, and do other tasks.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks, nycgirl! It is surprising. Maybe we're just on the brink of having this technology geared to book and similar media checkout or purchases catch on. I hope so.

    • nycgrl profile image

      Veronica 6 years ago from New York

      That is just so cool, I wish all libraries had this as well as Barnes & Noble stores. Its amazing the amount of stores even in New York City that still do not have self checkout. I just love avoiding cashiers and not having to deal with any people which is the reason I also love ATMs lol. Great hub, voted up!