The Flagstaff library patrons are being treated to a new look and soon a more efficient experience at the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library on Aspen Avenue.
Claudine Taillac, the volunteer service and training librarian, said the library recently did some minor and major renovations. New carpeting was installed throughout the building and the circulation desk was moved to provide more open space at the front of the library.
Both of the restrooms at the entrance to the library were also completely remodeled to provide larger stalls, new tile and accessibility for all patrons.
The library is also in the process of installing a radio-frequency identification system that will make it easier to check out, return, and sort books and other library materials. The library currently uses a barcode system where each item has to be scanned, sorted and shelved by hand.
Each library item under the new system will receive a RFID tag that allows library staff to keep track of who checked out a book and when. Around 45 volunteers are currently working on tagging more than 300,000 items in preparation for the change.
The new system will also help with sorting materials when they’re returned. Each returned item is deposited on a conveyor belt that rolls the item through a scanner that reads the tag and then sorts the item into a bin with a label for the shelf where the items are supposed to go. It makes it a lot easier and faster to re-shelve items, which means that patrons will have faster access to that book or movie they’ve been waiting to read or watch.
Taillac said no one at the library will lose their job once the new system is installed; it will simply make staff’s jobs easier and faster. According to Flagstaff City Council meeting minutes, the system was approved by Council in November 2016 and costs about $450,000. The library had already saved most of the money for the project and only needed an additional $7,735 from the city’s general fund to purchase the system.
The library’s digital collections also continue to grow, Taillac said. Patrons can not only reserve and renew books online but read e-books, e-magazines and listen to audio books for free.
The library’s website includes access to stream movies through InstantFlix. Most of the movies available on InstantFlix are shorts, documentaries and indie films that you might find at a film festival. In order to use the movie streaming service, patrons have to come into the library to sign up for an account. But the e-books, magazines and audio books can all be checked out for free through the library website and a handful of smartphone or tablet apps.
For those who may not be quite so tech savvy, the library offers free one-on-one technology instruction.