Belgium, Library Kalmthout
The most user-friendly check-in solution for libraries
More and more libraries are moving away from acting like a conventional ‘book-factory’. This is also the fact at the Public Library of Kalmthout. Situated in the nature reserves of the Belgium province of Antwerp, the public library of Kalmthout offers over 50,000 media to the local population. The clear white building stands out in the green surroundings and is well worth a visit.
The library wanted to put greater emphasis on providing added value through increased patron-interaction. This solution also needed to be innovative and cost effective. As Jan Collet, director of the Public library of Kalmthout perfectly explains: “We want to make things easy for our patrons whilst granting their privacy. With all this in mind we came up with the idea to create a self-service library through RFID technology.”
The library decided to rearrange the complete library and created a type of market square. That way in one glance it is clear where to return or borrow library media. Using self service solutions makes things easier for patrons. As a result service levels are increased due to the fact that staff now have the time to support patrons with finding the right books. Collet continues: “Our staff saves a lot of time, because they don’t have to do all the manual tasks such as checking in and checking out library items anymore. We see no added value in this type of work. Now they can do what they do best; being involved with the patrons and support them to find what they need.”
The library makes use of Intelligent Return Trolleys for checking in library items. These trolleys are situated near the entrance of the library. When a patron enters the library to return his or her books they just place the items in the trolley and it is checked-in in the database of the library. Besides, the security is switched on immediately. This way the items are directly available for the next patron, but secured until they are properly checked-out.
“The biggest advantage for us is the fact that we can provide additional services without having to invest in headcount. In the past we needed more staff at peak moments. With the Intelligent Trolleys we can check-in over 250 items per hour and even then our staff does not feel stressed. It even happens that during peak hours we only have one person available in the library and this has never been a problem.”
The Library of Kalmthout chose this product, because it is highly user-friendly and almost maintenance free. “We wanted something that is future-proof and understandable for all our patrons. The visitors of the library range from toddlers to elderly people. With the RFID solutions of Nedap we were able to create a pleasant environment for everyone: even our oldest member who is 97 years of age thinks checking-in items with the Intelligent Trolleys is child’s play.”