Imagine going to the Largo Public Library and placing a pile of books on a scanner that will check out all the materials at once. Then, you can return the books in a chute with a conveyor belt, which will then sort and check the materials back into the library.
A proposed new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system should make check out and check in faster and more efficient at the library. Each item is coded with an RFID chip and the system reads the RFID codes. The Friends of the Library is donating $225,000 toward the system, which will hopefully be in place around April, said Library Director Casey McPhee.
The proposed new RFID system will reduce repetitive tasks so staff can assist patrons more with finding materials and providing help on computers. The new system will reduce the time in the check-in and check-out process, McPhee said.
The proposed library system will be able to "read" a stack of materials with 10 to 12 items. Patrons will be able to check out both Largo books and interlibrary loan materials all at once using a self-checkout unit. Currently some materials borrowed from other libraries require a separate checkout system, McPhee said.
When patrons return materials inside the library, they should be able to place them in a chute, then watch on a video monitor as an automated materials handler checks the books back in and then does a preliminary sort to collect the materials in organized piles like children's books or books borrowed from south county libraries, McPhee said.
Plans for the new system are still in the preliminary stages. Some upcoming steps include city commission approval and ordering the system, McPhee said.