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Marathon County Public Library

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Technology Evolution at the Library

3M digital book sorter

May 25, 2011

Since 2006, the Marathon County Public Library has experienced a 32.6% increase in materials being checked out, while simultaneously absorbing a 17.3% dcrease in staffing. With the increased amount of check out, we needed to quickly become more efficient in order to provide the same quality of service. 

Subsequently, we purchased 6 self-checkout machines in 2006 and began gently nudging our customers to use them. In August of 2006, only 3% o materials were checked out using these machines. Today, 70% o library materials are checked out at the Wausau Headquarters using self-checkout. We could not have moved forward without the great support of our customers and their willingness to accept this change. With less time needed at our service desks, our staff spent additional time improving all facets of the customer experience, such as providing timely and relevant programming for all ages.

In late May, we will begin a new technological adventure with your help. A new 3M Intelligent Return and Sorter system will be installed on the 1st floor at our Wausau Headquarters. This system will automatically check in materials and sort them as well. Once again, we expect to become much more efficient once this technology is implemented, meaning library staff can re-focus their efforts on providing quality storytimes to children, computer classes to adults, career assistance to the unemployed or “under-employed,” and continue developing great programs for everyone.

Over the next few months, we need your support by trying out this new, fun technology. We will gladly assist you in order to make this an easy transition. Feel free to stand in either doorway and watch how the system works. Our goal will always be to get the materials back onto the shelves as quickly as possible, and this system will help us accomplish that goal.

At our libraries, we have many rare, old, and unique items, but no item is as valuable to us as you, our customers. We look forward to moving into the future with you!

(from the MCPL Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2011)

Newsletter Technology

image credit: Fair use. Provided to library to showcase product to patrons.