The biggest testing ground for the library’s ideas was the Librarium, a temporary branch that opened downtown in September while Central Library undergoes a 2-year renovation.
“We’re trying out all kinds of things at the Librarium,” said library CEO Gary Shaffer.
Many of the experiments revolve around technology, including new automatic checkout machines that are easier to use than those located at other branches. The new machines allow library users to check out multiple books at a time. Shaffer said the library system plans to gradually roll out the new device to other branches.
An automatic book return machine is also being piloted at the Librarium, as well as at Broken Arrow Library. Books are dropped onto a conveyor belt, their radio-frequency ID tags are scanned and then they are sorted into bins based on whether they are staying at that library or going to another branch.
In terms of innovative ideas, Shaffer said the Librarium’s 80/20 service model — or designing a library that is easy enough to use that 80 percent of people can navigate it on their own, so library staff can assist the other 20 percent of people — has worked well. The Librarium’s division into easily identifiable “zones” has helped with the model, and Shaffer said the system is looking at implementing similar layouts at other branches.
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