The phrase “time is money” could not fit more aptly in the era we are living in. Time is especially valuable for all those students and researchers who give frequent visits to libraries.
There’s one thing which we all can agree on is that the procedure to get the resources at a traditional library is quite tiresome. One might wonder what could be a way out of these inconvenient procedures.
To your surprise, yes, there is an efficient way out of this tiresome process of accessing the required materials at a library. Smart lockers for libraries are a great way to enjoy efficient and problem-free library services while improving your productivity.
In this article, we are going to take a deeper look into how you can maximise your time management with smart lockers for libraries.
Understanding Smart Locker Systems
You must be wondering what exactly is a smart locker system. Worry not because we are here to simplify things for you. Take a simple locker, wherein you have to use a key to open it every time you want to take something out or put something back in. A smart locker removes the need for any human intervention in that case by using the latest technology.
Libraries are the earliest to jump on this trend, and a lot of them have been using smart lockers for libraries.
Smart Lockers For Libraries: How Do They Work?
In libraries, a smart locker function is very useful as it streamlines the processes of a library in a way that clearly demarcates a place to collect, return, or pick up library materials.
To make things easier for you to understand, let’s break down the workings of a smart locker in a library:
- As a first step, a patron reserves the study material like journals, books or other materials through library staff or online via the library web portal.
- All the books and reserved materials are placed into designated e-lockers by the library staff for easy access to the patrons.
- Once the materials are available for the patron to read and use, they receive a text message or email that has a unique access code included.
- The patrons can easily open the locker’s door by entering the unique code that they have received over an email or a text message to access their reserved materials.
- After they are done reading the reserved study material, patrons can easily return all the items inside the available locker by following the unique return instructions.
- The best part about these smart lockers for libraries is that they are available around the clock. It means you can retrieve or return the study materials at your convenience, 24/7.
What Are The Benefits of Using Smart Lockers For Libraries?
Now that you have a good idea about how smart lockers for libraries work. It is about time to discover how such a system offers utility in terms of convenience and time management in libraries:
With such a system in place at libraries, the experience of returning items has been enhanced and is now as easy as picking them up in the first place. Herein, the patrons can easily drop off the items in the available locker, and the system can easily take care of the rest.
Owing to the secure nature of these lockers, the library materials are now more and more secure. With a systematised process in place for both picking up the books and returning them, the chances of theft and misplacement are minimised.
These smart library pickup lockers can be easily designed to meet the requirements of the disabled patrons of the library. This makes the smart library setup more inclusive and open to all to gain knowledge on whatever topic they want.
The smart library features need not be restricted to just efficiently handling books but can be used to accommodate various other materials, too. With just a few configurations and customisation, you are all set to accommodate various materials like laptops, multimedia resources and, yes, books too.
Less Human Interaction
Since all the processes involved are automated, from the book reservation to the pickup and returns, the chances of human interaction are minimal in these library pickup lockers. It is, in fact, a great thing for all introverted patrons to easily access the materials they want without any social anxiety.
The most notable advantage that a self-checkout school library offers over the traditional library is the round-the-clock availability. You can easily return or collect the materials from the library anytime you want. This can be a lifesaver for those who run on a tight schedule.
Efficient Use Of Time
As patrons don’t need to stand in longer queues, they are more quickly able to retrieve the reserved material without any delay and thus save themselves some valuable time.
Case Studies: Libraries Who Have Adopted The Change
A lot of libraries have been rapidly getting on board with smart lockers for libraries; here we list two cases and their remarkable success:
The University Of Texas At Austin
The university has used smart library features to extend lockers for laptop loans so that every student can have access to technology.
The Seattle Public Library (SPL)
SPL has been using smart lockers for libraries to improve the accessibility of materials.
In both cases, positive feedback from the users was found, where they were able to save up more time.
Challenges To Implement Smart Lockers in Public Libraries
While implementing such systems is worth a try, there are some challenges that a patron may face:
Libraries must allocate sufficient space for the installation of locker units, which may require redesigning existing layouts.
Like any technology, smart locker systems can experience technical glitches, leading to service disruptions.
Libraries must invest in educating their patrons on how to use the locker systems effectively.
The cost of purchasing and installing smart locker systems can be a significant upfront expense for libraries.
Now that you know all the utilities which these smart lockers have to offer to your libraries and modernising them in the true sense. Smart lockers for libraries are a great way to streamline the regular and time-consuming processes in libraries and reduce human intervention. More and more libraries adopting such systems speak volumes for the benefits the self-checkout school library has to offer.