The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, New York has started using a self-checkout system that makes use of RFID technology, according to a local news report. In the past, if patrons wanted to check out a book or CD, they had to wait for a librarian to do it for them.
With the RFID stations in place, patrons are able to check out their own books, CDs and DVDs at the library. The new method also frees up staff to do other things, such as answering reference questions and getting materials back on the shelves sooner.
To use the self-checkouts, patrons first scan their library cards. Then they place their materials on top of a sensor pad in front of a computer monitor, and the name of each item pops up on the screen as its tag is read.
When they’ve finished, they choose whether to print a receipt or have one emailed to them and then grab their materials and walk out through an RFID security gate. The gate makes it harder to remove library materials without permission, and also to prevent theft.
So far, the new self-checkout system has been installed at 21 of the system’s 37 branches. Official expect every branch, along with the tagging of more than 3 million circulating items, to be equipped by 2015 at the latest.