Exciting new technology at Oakville Public Library

March 10, 2017

Over the past few months, Oakville Public Library (OPL) has taken great steps in implementing modern technology into the library system. With the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, Smart Gates, and Check-out Kiosks, the library is well on its way to enhancing the overall customer experience with the efficiency of its services.

In September 2015, OPL began working on a project to enable RFID technology on its existing collection of 1.3 million items. The project, which took 16 months to complete, involved placing RFID tags on each item and programming each tag into the tracking system.

This past January, the library installed 22 RFID-reading Smart Gates across all six branches. These Smart Gates work together with the RFID tags to help keep track of all items from the library’s collection.

The Smart Gates provide the library with additional information, as well. Not only do these gates ensure items have been correctly checked-out and secure the library’s inventory, they also count traffic. This counting feature allows the library better understanding the flow of traffic coming through its doors and plan accordingly.

The most recent addition to the library is the Check-out Kiosk. These beautifully designed kiosks allow our customers to conveniently check-out all of their items with ease. New kiosk features such as the ability to view account details, place holds, and renew items will become available later in 2017.

Working together with the RFID tags, these kiosks are able to scan and track multiple items simultaneously, resulting in a much faster check-out process.

The library will also be installing automatic sorters and check in stations in the near future. Connected to each branch’s drop box, these check in stations and sorters scan and track all returned materials and organize each item into circulation bins.

This new technology allows library staff to focus more on our customers by being readily available to assist with various inquiries. With additional face-to-face interaction, staff will be able to learn more about the needs of our community, which, in turn, assists in the development and creation of new library initiatives.

Oakville Public Library is committed to providing our customers with exceptional service, and will continue to grow and adapt to our community’s ever-changing needs.

For more information on our new technology and future branch enhancements, please visit www.opl.ca.

 

A version of this article was originally published in the Oakville Beaver on March 10, 2017.


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