Library all but closed April 19-24 for technology upgrade

       New technology is coming to the Old Colorado City Library that should ease check-outs and discourage thefts.

Jocelyne Sansing
Westside Pioneer photo

       The process will require the manual attachment of a radio frequency indentification (RFID) tag in every item on the shelves - a time-consuming process by 20 to 25 employees that will all but close the facility from Monday, April 19 to Saturday, April 24, according to Old Colorado City Library Manager Jocelyne Sansing.
       The exception will be that the library, at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave., will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. daily so users can pick up holds. At those times, people will only be able to enter through the side (parking-lot) entrance, with a temporary check-out station set up just inside the door, she noted.
       Using “automation technology,” the RFID tag is “sort of the next generation” for handling library materials, the librarian said. For many years, there had been the card catalog system. This was followed by the current UPC scanners. With RFID tags, the system will be able to simultaneously read the catalog information of multiple items at check-out, as opposed to the current method in which each item has to be separately scanned.
       This will not only save time for the library patron but reduce repetitive stress injuries for employees, Sansing explained.
       The final touch in the changeover is planned for the second week in May, when gates that are electronically tied to the RFID system will be installed at the library doors. “If anyone with an item attempts to leave without checking out, it will set off lights and noise,” Sansing said. As a result, “things can't be stolen as easily.”
       Although the Pikes Peak Library District does not experience “a huge amount of loss,” according to Sydne Dean, the district's associate director of public services, “it's a little higher in the AV area [items such as DVDS or CDs].” She said that the gates in the libraries will be helpful not only by making noise but by providing a read-out of which items a departing patron has that are not checked out. But enforcement is not the main goal, because undoubtedly there will be times when innocent patrons will go through a gate with material they've forgotten to check out, Dean said.
       People's library cards will be unaffected by the RFID change. They will continue to be scanned as before, Sansing said.
       Between April 19 and 24, workers will tag a total of about 28,000 library items at Old Colorado City, she estimated.
       During that time, there will be no change to the drop-off bin in the parking lot outside, which will continue to be available at all times.
       Old Colorado City's Carnegie library will be the seventh of the nine branch libraries in the district to get the changeover in a process that started this spring. Last will be the two main libraries, Penrose and East. They're scheduled in May (10 days for Penrose, two weeks for East, Dean said).
       Sansing predicted that a 100 percent change to RFID will take over a year, because some items cannot be accounted for immediately as a result of being lost or not returned.

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