Troutman library debuts new self-check system this week
BY DEBBIE PAGE
A new, quick and easy checkout system, which allows visitors to check out a book in less than 30 seconds, is now available at two stations at the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library. After a scan of their library card barcode, patrons place their book or stack of books and other materials on the checkout pad and then are on their way.
This convenient automation will mean no more waiting to check out books, with four stations also at the main library in Statesville and one at the Harmony branch. Patrons can also renew books from the self-check machine, even if they do not have the book with them, as well as check the status of their account by just scanning their cards.
The self-check system uses Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology to read a small chip in each book, which contains its identification number, and connect it to the user’s library card.
Patrons can get a paper receipt or email receipt of their checkout if they choose, according to Troutman Branch Manager Rebecca Lopez, who demonstrated the machine’s use for visitors. The station also lets them see holds and view fines.
User reaction so far has been “overwhelmingly positive, which has been very nice,” said Lopez. “Most people expected it to be difficult, kind of like the ones at the grocery store, but with these you scan all at once, which make it a super quick and smooth process for anyone, regardless of tech skills.”
Lopez believes the new system will improve the staff’s use of time and efficiency “by a lot. Staff spends a good part of the day performing this basic functions, so having patrons able to self-checkout will give them more time to plan and conduct programs, do outreach, and get in the stacks and find things.”
“There’s a lot more that we can do if we’re not chained to the desk all the time,” added Lopez.
Lopez hopes the system will afford her more time to get into the area’s schools to promote the Student Access program to students and teachers, especially now that three charter schools in the county are joining the program.
“I really want to get into the individual schools and push Student Access more,” said Lopez. “I want to help the teachers understand the available resources and help principals understand how it will help their schools and students.”
STUDENT ACCESS PROGRAM
The Student Access program, through the Iredell County Public Library program in partnership with Iredell-Statesville Schools, gives students access to “pretty much everything,” according Lopez. Students are allowed to check out up to 10 items, including hard copy, audio, or ebooks, for an unlimited period of time without late fees or fines.
Students and teachers also have access to all of the library’s online resources to use in class, to do research papers, or for personal use. “With their Macbooks, students will have access to Overdrive, eBooks, audio books, digital magazines, essentially everything they can get when using the computers at the library.”
Teachers can use video clips available on databases as well as other materials to enhance their classroom instruction.
Student library access will automatically renew at the beginning each school year. When the student graduates, the access will continue until the following September to allow access through the summer to help with job search or college preparation.
All students are automatically enrolled in the Student Access program. Parents do have the option to complete an opt out form if they want to deny their child access to the materials. Dr. David Blattner, Chief Technology Officer & Executive Director of Media and Virtual Learning, is the I-SS liaison for the program.
Lopez is excited about the universal access for all I-SS students and teachers. “Before we had to fill out a form, and the student would have to get a parent to come in with an ID to sign permission. Now every kid has library access through their school ID number, and every kid is in charge of what use or don’t use. They aren’t dependent on someone else to get them to the library.”
Lopez said they will be able to track usage by schools and students and get reports to see what percentage of students use the resources.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has had a similar program for a few years, with initial usage only at about 10 percent. “Then they got principals, media specialists, and teachers involved to push the program, and usage went up to 70 percent to 80 percent,” according to Lopez.
The program is expanding to the several charter schools this year and will be available to home schoolers and Mooresville Grade Schools District over the next few years. “Eventually everyone in Iredell County under 18 will have access. It’s just a matter of configuring the system to get them all in.”
One of the databases is NC LIVE, which offers access to information for students of all ages as well as adults on careers, business, health, science, math, history, literary criticism, poetry, language learning, and genealogy. NC LIVEalso provides eBooks, audiobooks, videos, magazines, newspapers, journals, and language-learning tools.
Within NC LIve is Access Science, Science in Context, Oxford Reference (covering many subject areas), Proquest Central (full text scholarly articles in many areas), Films on Demand (covering most subject areas and personal interests), and SIRS Knowledge Source (a wide away of articles on countless subjects).
Students will have also have access to Universal Class, which offers over 500 online courses for lifelong learners to enhance knowledge and skills in many career or personal interest areas. Students can also get continuing education credits to enhance their extra-curricular activities or to prepare for a career.
Atomic Training offers more than 40,000 user-friendly training videos for the newest software and electronic gadgets. Students can develop job skills and learn social media software or programs such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Dreamweaver, HTML5, and Excel.
Students can also get classroom support or pursue personal interests using Pronounciator (over 80 foreign languages, ESL assistance, and 256 live 30-minute classes per week taught by qualified teachers), Overdrive (read along eBooks for new and developing readers), and Learning Express (basic skills in math and reading, career information, and test prep).
Genealogy resources such as Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Historic Photograph Collection, and newspaper and obituary archives are also available.
Zinnio provides students with unlimited access to over 100 magazine titles, including American Girl, Cosmopolitan, Discover, ESPN, Seventeen, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, Men’s Health, andWomen’s Health.
For more information about Student Access, contact Lopez at 704-528-2682.