Bloomington Public Library Gets Technical

September 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm 6 comments

I have worked in retail and as a waitress.  It did not take me long to realize some people will steal and cheat the system at any possible time.  Five months ago I started to work at the Bloomington Public Library and was so excited to leave my other jobs for the sophisticated and respectable atmosphere of a library.  I was quickly brought down to reality after a couple days at the job.

“Hi, this is Marla calling from the Bloomington Public Library.  The copy of Hustler you returned had missing pages, was wet with what smells like coffee, and has slight mold throughout the back cover.  Your account has been charged $13.00.”

This is only one example of the difficult situations the library handles.  People steal DVD’s and CD’s.  Books are damaged, returned after the due date, and more often than you would imagine, never seen again.  To combat this libraries have become increasingly technical.  Every single item is given an RFID tag which programs the item to a unique ID number (I do this!).  At the library item ID numbers will always start with “A119” and have eight more following numbers (Ex.A11967890997).  This tag, which sticks on the back cover of books or back casing of DVD’s (please do not remove if you ever see one), is read by our computers and displays the due date of the item, how many times an item has been checked out, which patron has the item checked out, where the item is shelved in the library, and even more specific data.  It increases security of our items and improves our efficiency.

When I started to work at the library when a patron wanted to “check-out” an item a circulation employee would place it on a pad registering that item to a user.  When a patron was “returning” an item, a circulation employee would place the item on a pad registering it back into the library.  As of two weeks ago, a new computer system does both of these functions for us!
New machines were installed by the company 3M.  I came into work one morning to find construction workers, torn down walls, and confused library patrons.  The machines allow the library patrons to use new computers to read the unique RFID tags on each item and “check-out” items themselves.  When returning items patrons send their items through a scanner and they are immediate removed from their card.

The library employs an entire Technical Services staff and Information Technology workers to support these new systems.  It would be hard for a typical library patron to understand all the behind the scenes support.  The TS and IT staff work hard to make my job easier!  However, there are positives and negatives to the installation of this new technology, especially in an atmosphere where the general population having a wide variety of technical abilities are required to use it.

Don’t forget to take the quiz. Cheers!

Check this out for more info.–


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  September 16, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Good work! I enjoyed this article

  • 2. Anonymous  |  September 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting. Is the Hustler story literally true?

    • 3. Anonymous  |  September 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm


  • 4. mgtetzl  |  September 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Yes. However, it was actually a Maxim.

  • 5. Anonymous  |  September 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    This was a very interesting article. It really makes me want to go to Bloomington Public Library and see all this new technology. Thanks for the post.

  • 6. nkdunca  |  September 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This is an awesome article, Marla. Thanks!


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