The Metropolitan Library System has continually integrated automation into its customer service at branch locations in recent years and that trend will continue with its new self-pickup program.
Patrons can reserve items online and they will be placed in a designated location at their branch. When the items are ready, the patrons can go to the designated location and pick up their items. The items will be shelved by the first four letters of the person's last name and the last four digits of their library card number.
The self-pickup allows people to get their items without having to wait in line at the checkout desk, where books on reserve are often kept. Those who have questions or need help can still ask staff members for assistance.
“It's a time-saver for people, and self-service has been a national trend at libraries for many years,” Deputy Executive Director Kay Bauman said. “We're constantly looking at things we can do better and more efficiently.”
Feedback from patrons has been positive, Bauman said. The self pickup makes it possible for people to reserve online and then, if they choose, use the automated checkout, making the entire process of checking out a book or other item self-service. And when they return the items they can use the self-return system, which is a conveyor belt that sorts the books and places them in a bin according to subject.
“Anytime you introduce a new procedure there is a period of adjustment, but the people we've talked to rave about it,” she said. “I've seen comments on Facebook and Twitter. And for the people who are accustomed to the interaction with our library staff, they can still have it.”
Self pickup is now available at all Metropolitan Library System locations except Del City and the extension libraries.