2009-12-11

SELF CHECK OF A DIFFERENT KIND…….



LAT’s keywords are Flexibility – Innovation – Collaboration. But without the outer two, we can’t get to the inner one – innovation. So while we are always saying that “Librarians design our equipment!” by virtue of the fact that their observation of technology in that real-world environment cannot be replicated in our labs (and boy, do we try!), we still tend to be amazed what does present itself in the real world some time.

Phone boxes are being decommissioned all over the UK and a library in Somerset, Westbury-sub-Mendip, has decided to turn one into a 24/7/365 self service lending library! Come in, all one of you, take a book, and return it whenever you like.

Wait a minute…. Did we say “real world? When you think about it, it'd be a great way to sort of float your weeds for a while.....

.....but we don't have cool phone booths here in the US!

Full story here and/or here


2009-06-18

"They shall not shave off the corner of their beard." - Leviticus

Lex11 (Steve) has done it again, first my Dad farting and now:
Producer of Life Behind Beards. A half hour documentary detailing one man's journey, along with a coterie of colorful (and hairy) companions in his quest to have the best beard competition NYC's money can buy. Humorous, but also insightful as to the attachment and emotion that serious beard growers develop. Available soon at the www.lifebehindbeards.com site, you can view the first trailer below: (More trailers soon.)

Life Behind Beards Trailer from Steve Hanulec on Vimeo.

2009-05-04

CD Format Obsolete in Libraries - NOT !!


If there was any doubt about the future of the CD/DVD form-factor, especially in libraries, you can put those concerns safely to rest.

Take a look at: http://www.twice.com/article/CA6654671.html

With the ability to store a whopping 500GB !!! on the same form-factor CD, we are smiling for sure that our allCIRC for libraries, has just extended its lifespan by a few decades.

2009-04-20

RFID in Libraries vs. Smoking

To me, the more I travel and speak to libraries about RFID, the good, the bad and the reality of it, the more I begin to compare RFID in libraries to smoking. Let me explain. When I was young, "smoking" was explained to me as a response to social awkwardness in kids - that is, this was something to do with your hands, and you looked cool doing it. As I got older in high-school, "smoking" was akin to fitting in..."everyone is doing it, you should too". As I progressed towards adulthood I saw smoking for what it really was, an addiction that does provide some momentary gratification, but at a huge cost to your family and your well-being.

I see the same trend towards RFID in libraries as when I was young. It has that "cool" effect, with very little substance, yet it does give this appeal to libraries that gives an apperance they are doing something worthwhile. How else can you spend that "efficiency grant" money, or your "friends" money - on traditional self-checks, or on this new, cool thing called "RFID". Its a four letter acronym, it sounds high-tech, it must be good.

According to 3M, only 2% of libraries in the US use RFID, and 8% worldwide! Yet, you hear about it all the time.

YET...virtually every library that talks RFID, has very little understanding of its complexities, benefits, true costs, problems, future support and a myriad of other key questions. When I was attending U of P, one of the first questions you were are asked at Wharton was "What is the ROI?" Well, if someone has it related to RFID in libraries, please, please let me know before I light up :)


Disclaimer: Running a successful business supplying various technologies to libraries, I would like to emphasize right away, that as a vendor, we love to sell you anything RFID related, such as gates, tags, readers, software, staff-stations, self-checks...etc., anything. Talk to us about a full array of RFID enabled products and services that we offer should you ever decide to move towards that direction.

2009-03-27

LIBRARY AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES TO PRESENT AT TLA BOOTH #2825

Library Automation Technologies, Inc. (LAT), a leader in library automation products, is pleased to announce it will be exhibiting at the Texas Library Associations Annual Conference (TLA) at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on April 1-3.

LAT will be demonstrating the ultra-small MAXine™ Self Checkout System which will be setup for hands-on demonstrations.

2009-03-26

SAN DIEGO PUBLIC LIBRARY EMBRACES SELF SERVICE

Library Automation Technologies, Inc. (LAT), a leader in library automation products, is pleased to announce it has completed the phase-one rollout plan for the San Diego Public Library, which encompassed over 36 machines in 18 branches.

The operation and patron interface were customized to meet the library system’s requirements while the physical looks were modified with custom table tops to match the library’s d├ęcor. The installed machines provide an easy, seamless and integrated environment for both patrons and staff.

Oleg Boyarsky, President and CEO of LAT commented, "San Diego Public Library is a unique customer who understands both the value and need of self-service in the library, as well as the patron’s desire for an easy-to-use system that simply works, and works simply. Using interchangeable portable and floor-standing models as needed, with identical user interfaces and Corean® tops, made units fit right in and they have been easily accepted.”

As Brian Ruark, a Technical Resource Program Manager for The City of San Diego’s Public Library commented: ”We like the simplicity and reliability of the LAT self-service machines. Patron usage continues to grow as they become used to the technology and as we refine how to best present the technology. LAT has been very innovative, making improvements based on our suggestions. They have also been responsive and quick to resolve any technical problems. “

LAT-Max™, LAT-MAXine™ and LAT-MAXwell™ is a family of self-service machines for libraries based on FlashScan™ technology. By providing multiple form-factors, such as desktop, floor-standing, kiosk and even wall-mount, all with the same patron interface and multiple finishes, the machines allow libraries to take advantage of the modern self-service technology regardless of their physical space constraints. Coupled with an array of impressive features and capabilities, such as on-demand, field-upgradable RFID capability, desensitization support, wireless networking, included multi-language support, as well as over 400+ features and settings, these machines are installed in hundreds of libraries worldwide and have gained a solid, industry leading reputation for value.

For more information about LAT's technology and all library products, jump to: www.LATcorp.com.

2009-01-05

Triumph! San Diego Self Check Article Featuring LAT


Self-serve checkouts get good reviews

County's libraries to expand system

2:00 a.m. December 27, 2008

— Self-checkout machines, which have become common in retail stores such as Home Depot, are also popping up in a growing number of public libraries throughout the county.

The city and the county of San Diego will expand their self-checkout programs at public libraries in 2009 at a time when they are coping with increasing demand but flat or declining budgets for staffing.

The county, which has 33 branches, has 26 self-checkout machines at 14 locations. In the next few years, it plans to expand the technology to 10 more locations.

The city, which has 36 library branches, has 37 self-checkout machines at 19 sites. It plans to have 49 machines at 22 locations by June. Among the new locations is the Logan Heights branch opening in the fall.

In some county libraries, such as the 4S Ranch and Rancho San Diego branches, as much as 80 percent of the materials checked out are handled by patrons themselves.

In some city libraries, such as North University and the Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa branches, self-checkouts approach 70 percent of the circulation.

Jennifer Holland, who uses the Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa branch, finds the self-checkout machines easy to use. Plus, she likes the fact that there is no line to use them.

“I've never had a problem,” she said.

The self-checkout machines are stationed near the staffed counter so if problems arise, patrons can get help right away.

Patrons scan their library card, then scan the bar code on the books.

The machines give voice prompts and print out a receipt with the due dates and the titles. The touch screen can provide directions in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese.

Jane Pisor, who has used the self-checkouts at city and county libraries, said they are easy to use, but she likes interacting with library workers at the checkout counters.

“I like the personal touch,” she said.

The city pays about $12,300 per machine. The county uses a different vendor and pays about $15,000 each.

County library director Jose Aponte said the self-checkout machines have worked out “swimmingly” and have helped the county handle huge increases in circulation with level funding and staffing. The annual number of items checked out at county libraries jumped from 4 million three years ago to more than 6.6 million this past year.

“Clearly, without technology, we would have been making cutbacks already,” he said. “I am very optimistic the technology will help us through some pretty challenging times.”

Aponte said when workers are freed up from the “drudgery of much of the day-to-day checking in and out books,” they have time to work on more meaningful programs, such as book clubs and children's activities.

Bruce Johnson, deputy director of the central division of the San Diego Public Library, also credits self-checkouts for improved operations. “Many users like a more self-directed approach. This helps them,” he said. “It helps us manage future increases in circulation. As branches become busier and circulation goes up, we are better equipped to manage the increase without necessarily adding clerical staff.”

An added benefit, Johnson said, is that patrons gain a measure of privacy by checking out their own books or DVDs.

Steve Hanulec, whose company, Library Automation Technologies, supplied the city's self-checkout machines, said they are becoming standard.

“What's happened now is, we are in a situation where it's become the expected norm wherever you go,” he said.


Helen Gao: (619) 718-5181; helen.gao@uniontrib.com