Library may beep at you ... at least for a while

       For now at least, prepare yourself for an alarm going off if you walk into the Old Colorado City Branch Library with returns.

Contractors Craig Pickel (left) and Achim Oberlander install one of two security gates inside the Old Colorado City Library May 14. The electronically sensitive units can "read" information from checked-out materials. But until all materials get RFID "tags," gate alarms will sometimes go off even when users have followed the rules.
Westside Pioneer photo

       If they were borrowed from any of the Pikes Peak Library District branches before the recent radio frequency identification (RFID) electronic upgrade, the new RFID-connected security gates will detect that and start beeping, according to branch assistant David Rasmussen.
       Another anomaly can occur when patrons mistakenly use the bar code scanner on items at check-out instead of the new RFID scanner. In such a case, the RFID security device will not get deactivated, which will cause the gate alarm to beep when people try to leave with their items. (The bar code scanner, which once “read” everything, now is meant only for the library card, Rasmussen noted.)
       When patrons set off the gate alarms in the above two ways, “they aren't concerned, because they know they're not doing anything wrong,” he said. The false alarms should diminish in the coming months, he added, because every time an item is returned, an RFID tag is placed on it if it doesn't already have one.
       As for the bar code check-out issue, that should also improve as people get educated on the new procedure, Rasmussen said.
       The RFID system is intended to simplify handling of materials for patrons as well as employees. One advantage is the eventual capability of allowing multiple items to be checked out with a single scan. Another is control of theft, particularly of DVDs. From an ergonomic standpoint, employees are already grateful that the RFID scanners can detect if cases hold the correct tapes, CDs or DVDs. Previously, at the Old Colorado City Library, employees had to manually open and examine each such case that was returned - an average of “many hundreds” a day, Rasmussen said.
       The RFID system was set up at the Old Colorado City branch in late April, with the gates installed May 14.

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