New Sorting System Frees Up Library Staff Time for Patrons

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When Salem Public Library reopened, patrons can watch its new automated sorter prepare materials to go back on the shelf.

When Salem Public Library reopens, patrons can watch its new automated sorter prepare materials to go back on the shelf.

​Greater efficiency and time savings will be among the benefits resulting from upgrades at the Salem Public Library, allowing more staff time for response to patrons’ needs.

One of these efficiencies will result from use of a new sorting system for books and other materials checked in and out of the library. The Automated Materials Handling system will use existing barcode labels, with radio frequency identification technology on most materials to check in returns and sort items quickly.

This system will save staff time and allow patrons quicker access to library materials. Similar systems are used at libraries in Multnomah County, Clackamas County, and Washington County.

The seismic upgrade project offers the perfect opportunity to introduce an efficient technology into Salem’s library. Lyngsoe, makers of the system that will be installed at Salem Public Library worked closely with the library to carefully and thoughtfully design a system that is tailored for the renovated building. 

The new sorting system will also provide better employee safety and ergonomics in handling thousands of items. Library visitors will be able to watch the sorting process through a viewing window.

How does it work?

The Automated Materials Handling system communicates with the system that manages the Library’s collections. As patrons feed their item into the return slot, it is checked in, gently sorted, and conveyed into container bins such as fiction, audio/visual or children’s books.

When a patron returns an item from another library, the sorter will recognize that it does not belong on the Salem Public Library shelves. It will sort it into a separate bin so that Library staff can transfer it back to the originating library. When a patron returns an item with a hold on it, the sorter will then send the item into another bin so it can be quickly placed on the pickup shelves by Library staff.

The Library’s Seismic Retrofit Project is expected to be complete this spring, with move-in scheduled for summer.

Ergonomic bins allow library staff to more efficiently reshelve materials, leaving more time to interact with patrons.

Ergonomic bins allow library staff to more efficiently reshelve materials, leaving more time to interact with patrons.

Contact us

Aaron KimseyProgram ManagerPublic Works Department
Mailing address:
555 Liberty Street SE RM 325
Salem OR 97301-3513
Phone: 
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