James Breakell, UK Managing Director of leading library security provider, D-Tech International, looks at the benefits of a library technology review and changes you can make to improve the student experience and ROI of your library.
Whether your library serves super keen students in a prestigious university campus or reluctant readers in a rural secondary school, there is library technology that not only improves the learner’s experience but also maximises resources to dedicate to more important needs.
Check out the latest check-out technology
Self-checkout benefits every type of library. In a school it ensures the staff can concentrate on engaging with students, perhaps running specific workshops to encourage those reluctant readers to put down their phones and pick up a book. It speeds up the checkout process and empowers pupils to manage their own library account. In conjunction with security gates (a must have for any school library-you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how rapid the ROI is), your library will lose fewer books and staff will find it easier to manage stock. Not only will you be able to redirect a large proportion of your budget from replacing lost books, you will also spend less time identifying misappropriated stock and ordering replacements.
Laptop loan or BYOD?
Laptop loans are an integral part of most university libraries but can impact heavily on departmental budgets, particularly if security is lax. Secure lockers, integrated with your ILS/LMS, or supplied with a separate database are a must-have and give a fast ROI. You choose the parameters for loans, and appropriate security measures can be put in place to support them. It really is that easy. You don’t need to clutter your library space with a plethora of chunky desk-top PCs and students don’t need to carry their own heavy, cumbersome laptops all around campus.
With more secondary school’s setting homework that requires internet access, is it time to ensure your school library provides the required equipment to ensure learners who don’t have a computer at home are not disadvantaged? Alternatively, you may be looking to set up a BYOD policy at your school and need secure storage and charging facilities for your pupils.
Open all hours
More relevant to the university library, 24/7 opening is an expectation rather than a nice to have in today’s higher education facilities. If you’re simply extending your school’s library hours beyond the core school day, by utilising the latest library security technology, you can do so on a budget and encourage those reluctant students to visit the library at a time more convenient to them.
The key to successful and sustainable 24/7 access is RFID technology. Because RFID tags can be written to as well as read, self-service systems will immediately update your LMS with loans and returns. Books that have not been checked out or cannot be removed from the library will activate the alarm system and kick-start security processes.
If you are not quite ready to open your doors throughout the night, but want to give students the opportunity to collect reserved items or return loans, you may want to consider installing an automated dispensing machine and returns locker. Both can be located in communal, accessible areas, or even outside, to ease access.
Where to begin?
When you consider the benefits to security and service offering, there is very little in the library security sector that doesn’t represent a good return on investment. However, budgets are not infinite, and you need to be able to come up with a business case for major expenditure. To maximise your current budget, and help you to identify the optimum improvements you can make, short and long-term, we thoroughly recommend a technology review.
At D-Tech International we believe in helping our customers to find the solution that matches their needs and their budget, and our after sales service is second to none, so you will never be left high and dry. Visit our website or call us on 01394 420077 to find out how we can help you.