Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Automatic sorting machine makes library work easier

Got this story out of the Chicago area...Could it help your library?
Warren Newport Public Library's new automatic sorting machine is taking on some of the manual labor involved in an operation that circulates 1.4 million items per year.

The machine, one of several automated technologies put in place by the library in recent years, works through passive RFID or radio frequency identification, similar to that used for the Illinois Toll Authority's I-PASS.

Every item circulated by the library has been equipped with a small tag that identifies the book, or video or CD with a unique code. The system identifies items, dropped by patrons through a return slot inside the library, which then roll along a conveyor belt until they are tipped into a material-specific bin before being shelved.

"It's an amazing ... outfit," said Carol Tiegland of Gurnee, one of 17 part-time shelvers employed by the library.

Tiegland was barely keeping up with the machine late one recent morning, scooping books and DVDs out of bins and placing them on carts almost as fast as Sortin' Suzy could decide where they should go.

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