Nour Habib for Tulsa World 3 months ago

Tulsa's Librarium a testing ground for new library tech systems

Last year was a year of innovative ideas and technology upgrades at the Tulsa City-County Library system.

The biggest testing ground for the library's ideas was the Librarium, a temporary branch that opened downtown in September while Central Library undergoes a 2-year renovation.

"We're trying out all kinds of things at the Librarium," said library CEO Gary Shaffer.

Many of the experiments revolve around technology, including new automatic checkout machines that are easier to use than those located at other branches. The new machines allow library users to check out multiple books at a time. Shaffer said the library system plans to gradually roll out the new device to other branches.

An automatic book return machine is also being piloted at the Librarium, as well as at Broken Arrow Library. Books are dropped onto a conveyor belt, their radio-frequency ID tags are scanned and then they are sorted into bins based on whether they are staying at that library or going to another branch.

"It's very convenient for staff and customers," Shaffer said.

The library is looking at installing a few more of the machines at high-volume branches, as well as a similar but bigger machine at the service center. Such technology helps the library with circulation, which Shaffer called a "large logistic operation." More than 6 million items were circulated throughout the system last year.

"It will allow us to deliver books in a more timely fashion," Shaffer said.

Another piece of technology that the library has decided to keep around are book lockers used to hold specialized items, such as research material, for customers. Shaffer said the lockers, which open up using the library card that put the item on hold, will be placed in the after-hours area planned for the newly remodeled Central Library, so patrons can access their materials even if the library is closed.

In terms of innovative ideas, Shaffer said the Librarium's 80/20 service model -- or designing a library that is easy enough to use that 80 percent of people can navigate it on their own, so library staff can assist the other 20 percent of people -- has worked well. The Librarium's division into easily identifiable "zones" has helped with the model, and Shaffer said the system is looking at implementing similar layouts at other branches.

Karen Brignac, who used Central Library frequently and now uses the Librarium, said she likes the model.

"I've begun to rely more on the electronic resources," she said, merely because the design of the library makes it convenient to do so.

Outside the Librarium, the library system rolled out several new services last year.

In October, the library began to offer free movie streaming. The movies are streamed through a service called Freegal, which the library also uses to offer free downloadable music. Movies are available for 48 hours and can be watched through an Internet browser or mobile app.

Also in 2013, the library began offering more digital access to magazines and newspapers. The latest issues of more than 125 magazines can now be downloaded for free using a library card, and more than 2,100 newspapers in 50 languages can be downloaded inside any library location.

An updated library mobile app is now also available in Spanish and offers new services such as the ability to scan book barcodes at any retailer and be directed to the library's record of the book.

"With the incredibly high use of smartphones today, Tulsa City-County Library recognizes we can reach customers and help them find information and entertainment beyond the walls of the libraries throughout Tulsa County," said Charlotte Frazier, deputy director of support services.

Shaffer said the library is always on the look out for "the latest and the greatest" to help it reach more people.

"We're always keeping an eye out toward the future so we can continue to offer more," he said.

Nour Habib 918-581-8369

nour.habib@tulsaworld.com ___

Related News Articles

  • EL Doctorow to receive Library of Congress Prize

    1 week ago
    NEW YORK (AP) — Novelist E.L. Doctorow will be honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.
  • Criterion Collection extends Hulu streaming deal

    1 week ago
    NEW YORK (AP) — The Criterion Collection and Hulu have extended their deal to keep the video platform as the exclusive streaming home of Criterion's vast library of art house films.
  • Intel eliminates 1,500 jobs in Costa Rica

    2 weeks ago
    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Chipmaker Intel announced Tuesday that it is eliminating 1,500 jobs from its assembly and test operation in Costa Rica, a blow to a country that has used Intel's presence to build a high-tech ...
  • DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

    1 week ago
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A high-tech screening tool for cervical cancer is facing pushback from more than a dozen patient groups, who warn that the genetic test could displace a simpler, cheaper and more established mainstay of women's health: the Pap ...

Related Regional News

  • Little Libraries brings book borrowing to neighborhoods

    3 weeks ago
    Little Libraries brings book borrowing to neighborhoods By GARY DEMUTH Salina Journal -- Wednesday, April 02, 2014 2:00 AM It resembles a large birdhouse, built from plywood and red asphalt roof shingles and painted in a colorful design. A look ... FULL ARTICLE
  • Jacksonville Public Library expands e-classroom service

    5 days ago
    Sandra Tucker was hesitant at first and appeared a little uncertain as the laptop screen flickered to life to reveal Microsoft PowerPoint. Offering a reassuring smile, Donna Peretzman sat down beside the Jacksonville woman, who's exploring a career in ... FULL ARTICLE
  • Guthrie Memorial updates technology standards

    1 day ago
    Guthrie Memorial Library has entered into a three-year agreement with York County Library System and improvements have been in the works since the day the agreement was signed in February. Already the library has welcomed state-appointed co-director Deborah Van de ... FULL ARTICLE
  • Some Fresno County libraries could soon be open longer

    3 weeks ago
    More hours are coming to a Fresno County Library branch near you. If Fresno County supervisors adopt a plan Tuesday that uses Measure B sales-tax funding, library services will expand by 11,778 hours in the 2014-15 fiscal year. New ... FULL ARTICLE
  • Architects have been chosen for new library

    3 weeks ago
    Buehrer Group and HBM Architects have been chosen to design a new branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library planned for Sylvania. The library board Thursday approved using Buehrer Group, a Maumee architecture and engineering firm, and Cleveland-based HBM Architects ... FULL ARTICLE

Share this page

Login

Login to make editorial changes to the current page.

Login Cancel

Close