Case Study III Santa Clara City Library, Santa Clara, CA
In early 2000, Santa Clara City Library's management team had to choose between
the legacy Checkpoint radio-frequency system or a move to a magnetic strip system.The
basic concern in the first case was the inadequacy of the self-checking system.The latter
option raised concern over having to handle the entire collection in order to place a mag-
netic strip on each object. Given the size of the collection (about 317,000 items) this was
an issue of great importance.While these matters were discussed, the supplier of the legacy
system in the library
announced the availability of their Intelligent Library System (ILS)
based on RFID technology. By June 2000, when its implementation at Santa Clara start-
ed, it was installed in 17 sites and used in the tagging of over one million books.
The Santa Clara City Library decision makers familiarised themselves with the experi-
ences of Rockefeller University Library, the first library in the world to install an RFID
Material handling time was reduced by an average of 75% according to reports
from libraries that have applied the Checkpoint solution.
City Librarian at Santa Clara, Karen Rollin Duffy, has said: `We're currently building
an 80-thousand-square-foot library and wanted to be sure that the library system we
selected takes full advantage of the most sophisticated technology available, that's why we
opted to work with Checkpoint. By automating our check-in/check-out process,
ILS will free up our staff to interact with patrons and provide a hands-on
level of service that would otherwise not be possible.'
The library management had a clear idea why Checkpoint was an appropriate choice:
- It is a new technology with the potential for multiple applications in the future;
- It is a flexible technology combining security and item identification in a single tag;
- It is designed to work efficiently with a materials sorting system, which will help
with automating the check-in procedure;
- Its user-friendly self-check machines allow simultaneous multiple item check-out.
Given these factors it was expected that the library's staff would be freed to spend
more of their time consulting visitors and patrons.
The system purchase was made in May 2000, with a schedule for tagging the collec-
tion by November 2000. Checkpoint organised training in the use of the tag program-
mers over a two-day period.Within one week, a staff of eighty was trained to program
tags. In addition to this, a Security System Committee was at work determining the best
work processes in the new environment.
The library set up six tagging stations, with an overall estimate of tagging time of
around two minutes per item for books. Audio-visual items take the same amount of time
for programming the tags, but slightly longer to affix them due to the variations in format.
Initially, Checkpoint had recommended taking the tagging station to the shelves.The
library staff decided not to do that for several reasons.The process can be noisy and the
management felt it was not a good idea to generate noise in a public area of the library.
The tagging station consisted of a regular sized PC, a staff station reader and a `reader
and Smart Tags
This case study is based upon the content of the web sites of the Santa Clara City Library and Checkpoint
Systems Inc, visited on 01/11/02 and 19/11/02.
Checkpoint Systems Inc, http://www.checkpointsystems.com