News, Events and Culture

Self-service about to step up a gear in the Living Room of the City

Monday March 16 2015

Palmerston North City Library's new self-checkout system will be in place in May, freeing up staff to help library users pursue knowledge and learn new skills.

The tender was won by Swiss company Bibliotheca - it's a first for a New Zealand library however Bibliotheca systems are in use in Australia, the US, the UK and Europe. 

City Librarian and General Manager Community Services Anthony Lewis says awarding the tender is a huge milestone for a project that we have waited so long for.  

"One of the reasons behind the restructure, two years ago, was to free up staff so they could better engage with the public.  After-all our aim is to inspire people to explore the pathways to the world: Te Ara Whanui o Te Ao. Primarily, this was to be achieved by the new system. However it's taken some time for the new system to be implemented." 

"I want to thank my team and the public for waiting," says Mr Lewis. 

Living Room of the City manager, Linda Moore, says the new returns/sorting system will not only improve library users' ability to self-issue, it will also reduce book handling by staff to one fifth of what staff had to handle before. 

"Staff will still put the books back on the shelves however it'll be done faster. Library users' accounts will also be updated automatically when they return books, allowing them to take out more. People will be able to pay fines and unlock DVDs themselves, rather than having to wait in line at the counter," Ms Moore said. 

"Before the project is up and running we need to tag every book. While staff have made great progress, we will have to close our doors for a day on Wednesday 18 March to complete the process," says Ms Moore. 

"It will be late May before the new system is live. Then our staff will help the public to understand how to use the new system. It's a proven user-friendly system that is intuitive. The case studies we've seen from overseas libraries show a fast uptake. We're hoping for 90% by October 2015. However, you will still need your library card or your library number to use the new system." 

Ms Moore says the Library is running a 'Love your Library Card campaign'. "The aim is to get everyone to bring their card with them when they come to the library. It pays to keep it in your wallet or purse. If you've lost your card then do ask for another one and keep it safe." 

Mr Lewis says the new system will not see a reduction in staffing levels.