New Library Technology Booked for Crowell

Crowell Public Library hopes to have a new system implemented by September that would expedite check-out times for patrons and help staff keep track of where everything is.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips will be installed in each book, magazine, DVD and CD this year, courtesy of the company mk Solutions. The Library Board of Trustees recently discussed the development in a joint meeting with the City Council.
“It’s a new technology that’s going into libraries and I’m really glad we’re doing it with our library to keep up with the technology of controlling the inventory of books,” vice chair Eldon Swanson said.
The board solicited five requests for proposals for RFID installation, with mk Solutions winning the job with a $55,254 bid. This cost includes training, Swanson said.
“They have more experience with libraries,” he explained. “(Librarian) Irene (McDermott) and other staff at the library have visited libraries that use the system and they have very positive results.
“The nice thing from the city standpoint is that this is going to be 100% paid for by donations,” Swanson added. “The donations are coming from San Marino Public Library Foundation, for $50,000, and up to $10,000 from the Friends of the Crowell Library Foundation.”
The RFID system will allow patrons a simpler self-checkout process, as the chip scanner can detect and read an entire stack of books at once, instead of having to individually read each barcode. Checking books back in also will be just as simple.
“That will help when we do have congestion in the library,” Swanson said. “The real key is that it’s going to ease inventory control for the library personnel. Right now, if you misfile or misplace a book on a shelf or on a stack, it’s really hard to find. As a matter of fact, you have to be lucky. You find it by chance.”
The long-term goal is to reduce staffing costs and increase library use by reducing the congestion of patrons. In response to Mayor Steve Talt’s question about loss prevention, McDermott said the system does detect when a book is taken from the building without being checked out.
“We don’t really experience a great deal of loss, so that’s not really the super problem,” McDermott added. “In this case, the gates will not only ding and say someone’s taking a book, but it will pop up on the clerk’s computer screens and tell them what the book is.”
Swanson added that the city may have to work out a procedure for remote system updates. Although it has regional offices in Southern California, mk Solutions in based in Germany. However, that won’t delay its installation now that the bid has been awarded.
“Our hope is to get the system installed by the end of June,” McDermott said in an email. “Then we will tag throughout the summer, with a go-live date in September.”

Leave a Reply