Very exciting this week – in the small world of Library circulation automation that is an integral part of my existence : – )
On Wednesday QLS arrived to install our new automatic trolleys on the ERC Library 5 bin ARS (Automated Returns Sorter). It’s been working for awhile now happily with bins, however some funds were made available to trial a trolley that loads itself. Will be good to do some actual real evaluation on time savings, manual handling benefits, staff feel etc as opposed to emptying bins onto manually loaded trolleys.
We bought 2 trolleys and a stacker (bit you plug them into on the ARS) and will be using it only on 1 return slot, alternating trolleys whilst one is being taken downstairs to be unloaded. Remaining 4 slots will have bins.
Pro’s: Don’t have to load from bin to trolley; it works! no books on floor yet.
Con’s: Only 1 shelf – as opposed to when manually load trolley can have 4 shelves – so more trips up and down in the lift; Fairly loud bang when a heavy book drops onto the shelf (will try and get some sample video next week); you can’t have a trolley where the exceptions bin is. (We had planned to use it there, but are trialling it on another section now : – ))
Anyone want to come and see it let me know : – ) email@example.com
I’ll make sure the estimable Robert (poor guy I draft in as my implementer for my flings with technology) is available to answer technical questions, whilst I dance around going “Look, look, it’s new, so cool, press this button”.
See my Youtube for a video of how the trolley raises with books on it.
I thought I had a video of the books actually coming out of the return slot and landing and stacking but apparently not. Will get one next week or go check out the QLS webpage on the unit we bought – the Libretto ARS
Thanks to all those who contacted me with interest in our RFID partnership with FE Technologies. Unfortunately I should have looked closer into what was offered. As it can’t work on a hybrid system of EM and RFID security, and as they can’t provide us with test gates, we’re not going to test this fully. We’d be checking items out on the new RFID self service and then they’d be setting off the exit gates as they tried to leave : – ) So probably nothing to show those of you who wanted to come and look.
We will still be working with FE Technologies so they can get accreditation with Innovative Interfaces International (III), but the only show and tell we will have is a staff module. So perhaps RMIT may be more interesting to others as they have fully implemented RFID in 2 branches now I believe.
I’m on leave for the next 2 weeks (which I can do as I have a fabulous PM from FE called Dom & a poor put upon UniMelb staff member to implement in my absence), but can answer emails etc when I return in Sept.
Funding isn’t often given to libraries specifically for circulation. It’s just not as sexy as a new learning center or a collection of new books.
Sometimes I like to dream though that some rich woman decides to throw a couple of million at my library, and the only stipulation is that is has to improve the circulation processes somehow … [before you say anything I do have other dreams than this one, but they’re on my X rated site]
So some of my posts for #blogeverydayinjune are going to be about the exciting new circulation toys out there, that I haven’t got yet, but I’d love too.
Today’s featured toy is the idea of a circulation jukebox, cause it could dispense items 24/7 and never requires people to do reshelving.
MediaBank has a DVD jukebox as does BiblioTecha; and there’s also a bookbank called LibraMate.
How could I use this? High use items in a 24/7 lab? My personal favourite, a mobile library van visiting student events such as music gigs to loan out items. Perhaps just to pick up holds after hours? I want one so I can give every 5th borrower a chocolate frog as well as their item! Or Lucky Dip borrowing – press the button and you may get *one of the items with the most holds on it that month, or *a book that hasn’t been borrowed for over 10 years!
A related must have (if I could just think of a work justification) was demonstrated at the recent VALA conference. Bibliotecha is offering a series of lockers that can be set to open for a particular patron card (RFID cards needed though). Sadly I’m as excited as a teenage girl offered dinner with Justin what’s his name, by this toy – “I SO want it”.
I could use this for picking up holds, allowing lecturers to browse the shelves after a class and then leave recommended reading items for students in a particular subject; or a game whereby you can scan your barcode each day and then one day a door opens and you get a surprise book!
Hmmm. Must stop dreaming and go off and write some real work now.
Today I can actually talk about something we have done at Melb Uni.
photo of dvd with RFID tags
As with most lending returns and shelving areas, our staff have a LOT of manual handling to do. That used to include opening every DVD that was returned to see if the borrower had remembered to put the right dvd in the case! Annoying; plus intensive use of wrists in a repetitive strain type movement. Our ERC library holds the Media Collection, and come Friday they function as the campus VideoEzy (but free!), so LOTS of opening and closing of dvds.
On top of that we had a security problem with many of our prize DVDs disappearing throughout the year. Initially we considered those cases where you have to lock/un-lock manually, but that is just another form of manual handling. So the acquisition of a new automated returns sorter (more on that in a forthcoming post) allowed us more options.
We purchased an automated returns sorter that can accept either barcodes or RFID tags. Then we put each DVD into a 3M lockable case, with a RFID D4 (big white square) on the case, and a CD8 (white round ‘doughnut’ on centre) on the actual DVD. These 2 tags are programmed on the 3M RFID conversion station/pad as a “set”.
Now when you check in a DVD the automated returns sorter checks
– is this the RIGHT CASE and DVD for the set? If not it pops it back out to the borrower with a little message “Problem with media item. Check that correct disc is in case“.
– does this case have a DVD in it all? If not it pops back out to the borrower again. The same message is used for both scenarios “Problem with media item. Check that correct disc is in case”.
If you have managed to return your dvd in the right case, it accepts it, returns it and pops it in a bin. Then our staff still have to manually swipe them through the relocking mechanism (it’s magnetic and currently set right on the side of the DVD returns bin) but no further checking is required, onto a trolley and back upstairs.
VERY EXCITING – well for lending and manual handling warriors like me anyway : – )