Scan your own books at libraries

Geraldine Gittens

Readers in three of Dublin's public libraries will be able to check in their library books by themselves -- in new supermarket-style book borrowing.

Pembroke, Rathmines and Raheny libraries will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, which will allow library users to issue and return items to and from the libraries themselves.

Dublin City Council has tendered for a company to supply the new technology, which will be introduced this year.

A spokesperson said: "It will operate as a security system to protect the stock in these branches from theft and will facilitate enhanced stock management and customer service.

"It will reduce the amount of staff time required to perform these labour intensive routine tasks." The cost of the new system was not released.

The economic downturn has led to an increase in the demand for the library services, and book borrowing in Raheny has increased by just over 14pc, in Rathmines by 12pc and in Pembroke by 11pc.

No staff will be made redundant when the system is introduced, and the staff will be able to help the public with information and the technologies available in the libraries, said the spokesperson. However, Councillor Eoghan Murphy, who represents the Rathmines/Pembroke area, said: "It should not be a priority of ours at this point of time, especially with the roads situation and the lack of grit."

He stressed: "It sounds like a waste of money and something that shouldn't be introduced at this time. We're bringing in lift charges for people who can't afford them, and with that I don't think self- scanners in a library is a priority."


Cllr Murphy insisted that queues in the public libraries were never so big that they were a big issue.

"It's fine to go into libraries and queue with only two or three people in the queue. If I could renew my books from home, then yes, but when you're trying to check a book out in the library, you don't need a self-scanner at all."

RFID is already in use in Tallaght Library and the council says the system will bring "increased productivity, improvements in customer service, enhanced security, advanced collection management, reduction in the need for manual handling and increased privacy."