Representatives from 3M and Bibliotheca recently presented to library employees and board members. Both showcased equipment used in the conversion to RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and the self-checkout process. Bibliotheca is one of the world’s largest library technology companies, whereas 3M has a department devoted to library technology needs.
According to the director, the items the library wishes to pursue include: three free-standing self-checkout machines; eight antennae; one inventory device, which will increase certain parts of the process; new gates (by the front entrance); administrative software; material tags; renting three conversion stations for three months; and shipping.
He said the items add up to about $87,000, and several thousand more dollars will be used to purchase tags needed in the future.
The board approved spending up to $95,000.
Hunt explained $40,000 was set aside for RFID conversion last year. An additional $15,000 is available through staff changes from this year. Letters have been sent to both the city and county governments. Both have been asked to provide $20,000. Hunt said the process will last across two fiscal years. The process will either begin this summer or fall.
Board member Susan Lackey said she was pleased to see so many staff members at both meetings. Their presence allowed for questions the board members might not have voiced.
She said she preferred equipment presented by 3M.
“I thought that 3M was the more impressive of the two, although I think it would be safe to go with either one. They were both very kind and seemed to be able to provide what we are looking for,” Lackey said. “But, 3M’s presentation was more impressive. They seemed to be more detail oriented. I liked the fact they were very articulate about the amount of research they have put into developing the product.”
She said 3M appears to have a “very high focus” on how humans interact with technology and equipment. This was most evident to Lackey by the space provided on the self-checkout kiosks for patrons to place books, purses or other items during the process.
Hunt said he called multiple libraries and both vendors received good reviews.
He said staff members were also impressed with 3M. He said one employee noted it would be easier to use the conversion equipment provided by 3M than the one presented by Bibliotheca. He said the wire used in the latter’s presentation might be prone to snapping.
Hunt said he feels comfortable with the choice of 3M as well.