Salt Lake County Library System
Case Study

Multi-branch libraries have special challenges. Tech Logic products were designed to streamline self-checkout, reduce staff repetitive motions, and streamline the inventory process at Salt Lake County Libraries.

In January, 2004, it was obvious to newly-hired Associate Director for Technology Gretchen Freeman, that the Salt Lake County Library System was struggling to keep up with increasing circulation and the promise of two new branches planned to open in the next year. Gretchen, who has spent over 25 years applying technology to the work of libraries, knew it was clear they needed ways to cope with the increase in circulation without depending on increases in staffing, and turned to Tech Logic with several goals: to streamline self-checkout, reduce staff repetitive motions, and streamline the inventory process.

The system of 18 libraries was circulating over 12 million items a year without the bene-fit of self check-out capabilities. Tech Logic implemented RFID tags for self-checkout at a test branch, and as the process for patrons was simplified and material handling was reduced in the backroom, Salt Lake gained the confidence to use RFID tags for invento-ry, security, and to locate materials at the shelves.

Today, Salt Lake County Library System has embraced Tech Logic Self-Checkout soft-ware for both RFID and barcodes. They have trained over 400 staff members on SCO systems in 12 libraries, have RFID-tagged three complete collections of 50,000, 60,000, and 80,000 items, and another of 200,000 items.

UltraSort technology has allowed Salt Lake to increase circulation and provide excep-tional service without increasing staff size. As one of their sorter libraries puts it, “‘We love Lucy,’ our sorter, and treat her like a staff member with her own way of doing work. She works best when we adjust our workflow to take advantage of what she can do for us. We could never keep up with our workload without Lucy on our staff.”

Salt Lake County Library System R.O.I. at-a-glance

  • Excellent balance of customer service and customer convenience
  • 80,000 items tagged with RFID in eight days
  • 93% of check-outs done at Self-Checkout stations with 1-2 staff members
  • Ability to design own SCO screens and workflow
  • In one branch alone, circulation increased from 26,000 items per month to 70,000 items per month without added staff
  • Sorting and self check-out streamlined and standardized system-wide
  • Increased staff morale
  • Increased public perception