Over the summer vacation the library implemented a new security system. It is an RFID (Radio Frequency ID) one from 3M. It is (almost) the same system as the one in operation in Cambridgeshire Libraries.
A team of 6 people took 7 full working days to tag 18,000 books and 22,000 journal volumes with new RFID tags. Using two mobile workstations, they removed each item from the shelves, tagged them and linked them to library management system software, and then re-shelved them.
The new system will be more reliable, and should greatly improve the security of library stock and also the way you borrow books.
It is still a 24-hour self-issue system.
One useful change is that you will now be able to borrow up to four books simultaneously (subject to your borrowing entitlements). Borrowing should be much quicker and easier.
To borrow a book, simply select 'Borrow' on the touch screen and follow the instructions.
You can even get a print out showing the details of the books you have just borrowed, along with their due dates!
Simply press 'Returns' on the touch screen and follow the instructions (you have to return each book separately on the machine).
The most important change to remember is that you are now required to place your returned books on the shelf dedicated for this purpose, which is located to the right of the self-issue machine (where the New Books used to be shelved).
You can get a printed receipt showing that the books have been returned.
Another major benefit of the new system is that when you return a book it will actually be returned immediately on the library circulation system and you will now be able to borrow another one straight away (rather than having to wait until library staff processed the book the next day or after the weekend).
Library staff will re-shelve the books from the returns shelves at 11.00am each day but you are able to borrow any book from these shelves at any time..
The new detection system gates:
These work in much the same was as the previous system, in that an alarm will sound if you attempt to leave the library without borrowing a book properly first.
If you have borrowed a book using the self-issue machine then the alarm should not sound. If it does sound, and library staff are not available to assist you, simply move away from the gates and try again - if the problem persists please alert a member of library staff or if out of hours, let them know what happened the next day. Journals (issues and bound volumes) still cannot be borrowed.
Quarto sized (large sized) books move:
We have had to move the Quarto books that were shelved on either side of the security gates to the back of the Newton Room (the room where the photocopiers are located). This is because they have also been tagged and when removed from the shelves they would have kept triggering the alarms.
This is still watching you!
How to see what books you currently have on loan:
Unfortunately the self-issue machine will not be able to show you this, you will still have to check 'Your Account' on the library catalogue (see the link in the top right-hand corner of this page http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/newton/).
Find out more about RFID technology here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification
If you have any problems with or concerns about the new system please let us know. We hope you find it to be a real enhancement to the way you borrow books from the Balfour Library.