Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Library district tagging 1 million items with microchips

JOANNA BEAN Updated: May 4, 2010 at 12:00 am

Pikes Peak Library District is spending $1.8 million on a radio-frequency identification system for its 1 million books, CDs, DVDs and other items, a move aimed at speeding up the check-out process for patrons and freeing up staff time.

The district is attaching RFID tags to everything in its collection and installing new equipment in each branch. The process began in March at the Monument branch and ends later this month when the final items are tagged in the downtown Penrose Library and mobile libraries.

The East Library is closed, except for limited hours, until May 16, while staff members and volunteers tag about 160,000 items there, the district said.

Then, starting May 17, the downtown branch will be similarly closed until May 28 to tag 170,000 items. The mobile libraries will be out of service May 25 and 26.

Both the Penrose and East branches will be open for limited hours offering limited services, and patrons will be able to return items at the outside book drops throughout the closures, the district said.

With the RFID system, every item in the district’s collection is tagged with a tiny microchip that contains identification information about the item, plus an antenna. When the item is ready to be checked out, it’s placed on a pad that transmits the item’s identification information to the RFID system. More than one item can be checked out a time; the item’s title and patrons’ personal information are not on the tag, the district said.

The district has been saving money for the RFID system for the past three years. District revenue in 2010 is expected to be about $25.3 million, said spokeswoman Danielle Nieves Oller.

PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT BRANCH CLOSURES

East Library: closed for most services until May 16.

The branch will offer limited services 3-7 p.m. today and Thursday and 3-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The branch will offer limited hours 3-7 p.m. Monday through May 13 and 3-6 p.m. May 14-15. During those hours, patrons will be able to pick up holds and also check out a limited selection of children’s books and DVDs, adult DVDs, some new fiction and rapid-read and rapid-view materials.

Penrose Library: Closed for most services May 17-28.

The branch will be open for limited services 3-7 p.m. May 18-20 and May 24-27; and 3-6 p.m. May 21-22 and May 28.

Outside book drops will remain open for returns at both branches.

TO VOLUNTEER

To volunteer to help the library district tag items, call 531-6333 Ext. 1251.

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