San Diego

New Self-Check Out Machines Now Available at All SD Public Libraries

Residents visiting libraries in the City of San Diego will have a new way to check out. 

All 36 public libraries across the City will have new self-check machines available for patrons, the San Diego Public Library (SDPL) announced. 

The devices come after a project to upgrade libraries, which lasted from Dec. 2016 to July 2017. 

“Our main objective is to enhance our customer service,” said SDPL Director Misty Jones in a statement. “The self-check machines are simple to use and allow our staff to focus more time on helping patrons with library materials or developing new, innovative programs to serve our diverse communities.”

Patrons can select from 27 languages and pay overdue fees on the machine with a new credit card feature. No library staff positions have been removed due to the initiative, SDPL officials said.

Libraries have reported an increase of at least 80 percent in patron usage rate with the new technology, according to the SDPL.

The SDPL also reported seven million patrons over the past year, a 20 percent increase in the last five years.

The increase correlates with the millennial generation’s growing interest in the availability computer and internet, 3-D printers and free courses in subjects like computer coding and virtual reality, according to a recent Pew Research study.

Besides the self-check machines, new security gates were installed at several locations. The staff has also able to tag about 2.6 million library materials with new identification microchips to catalog and track items, which replaced the old barcode method.

Each library was closed for two weeks at a time as the updates were installed. The project was made possible through donations to the SDPL Matching Equipment fund and California State Library grants, according to SDPL.

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