On the book bypass: Library offers self-checkout for readers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ATMs have made it quick and easy to do self-banking, withdraw money, without speaking to anyone. Super stores that carry a variety of items have self-checkout counters so one can speed on through without having to wait in long lines for a cashier to ring up sales.

Now the speed and freedom of a self-check out has made its way to the North Shelby Library on Cahaba Valley Road.

They are the first to offer such service in Shelby County, according to library director Carol Farr.

However, Mary Hedrick, head of the technical department for the Harrison Regional Library System, said three other libraries in the county are in line to offer the service including Pelham, the new Calera Library and the new Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo.

How it works: Touch the screen for help if needed and select a language. To check out a book, scan your library card and scan the bar code of the book on the library sticker attached to it (not the bar code for sale of the book). And that&8217;s it. Select done.

The self-checkout device will print a receipt.

Farr noted, however, that if you owe a fine of more than $3, the system will stop and let you know the fine is more than that amount.

She also said the self-checkout will stop if your library card were expired.

Farr said the self-checkout device cost about $5,000 and was paid for from the library&8217;s budget.

The North Shelby Library Board includes Alain Gallet, Tim Ryan, Steve Zerkis, Kay Kelley and Tom Allen.

She said Jefferson County libraries already had the system and saw an increase in their circulation. Hedrick said the Hoover Library also offers self-checkout.

Far said one of the best things about the self-checkout is that it frees up staff to do other things.

Farr said the library also received $5,000 in discretionary funds from State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin and $2,000 from Indian Springs Village for the library&8217;s summer reading program