The Anacortes Library is planning to put radio chips in all their books, CDs and DVDs. The Library’s director says the so-called RFID chips, similar to this one, will improve security and convenience.
Library director Cynthia Harrison briefed the City Council Monday night on her plan to reduce staff time involved in check-out and check-in of materials. Harrison said the new system, expected to cost nearly $100,000, should pay for itself in less than six years.
She explained that the new system should also reduce missing books, too, because anyone leaving the library without having checked out a book, CD or DVD will sound a buzzer at the door.
Harrison said that so far this year, 250 items have gone missing. She stressed that doesn’t mean 250 items were stolen, some of those could have been simply pulled off a shelf by someone, then re-shelved in the wrong place.
This system is similar to that used by many retailers to prevent theft.
Harrison said once all 104,000 items in the library are tagged, the improved check-out and check-in times will allow staff to do other work. She said that currently two staff members are used to check out materials and one staff person is used to check in during the 56 hours a week the library is open.
The City Council had approved the purchase of a $36,000 media bank to hold 2,000 of the most highly used CDs and DVDs, but that additional research has shown that an RFID system would provide a much broader solution to the CD/DVD problem.
Money to pay for the system will come from the Library Building Fund and a bequest of $18,325 by the Manieri Advisory Committee which was pledged for part of the cost of the media bank.
The city will put the system out for bid.