In the Stacks: A Blog Straight Out of the Mind of Steve – Self Check 101

When I was starting out as a Circulation Assistant many years ago, the main task that would fall on us was to personally inspect and check in or out library materials at the Circulation Desk. Back in those times, work was quite steady. Not that I’m complaining; not in the least. But as anyone can imagine, there was ALWAYS stuff to be checked in or out. But almost 7 years ago the library district obtained its new “Mecca” of Circulation technology… Self-Check Kiosks. (Loud applause please).

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District contracted with a little group called Envisionware back in 2006. Since then, Envisionware has supplied us with a large amount of Self-Check kiosks at every library branch, as well as a Self-Check In Sorter Unit for the pages to sort all returned items in the back sort rooms. Again, there are always items to be checked in or out. So for all of us starting out those 5 years ago, mastering this new technology was certainly “interesting” to say the least. But being around this machinery all of this time, it has truly been an honor to say that I can help just about everyone with this new system. I also feel confident enough to give you wonderful readers a collection of personal tips and answers to your FAQ’s in regards to the Self-Check Kiosks.

The first thing to note is that you can actually check out items at those kiosks without having your library card present. As long as you have your 13 digit number card number (memorized, written down, copied on your phone, etc.) you can enter it on the number key pads on top of the kiosks and press “Enter”. Also on certain smart phones, you can simply take a picture of your library card, and scan the picture of the barcode instead of the card itself. After your card number is entered, that will take you to the PIN screen. Another tip I have is that if you are trying to scan your library card and nothing is happening, try holding the barcode strip under the red light of the scanner halfway down between the scanner and the top of the kiosk pad. Always keep your ears peeled to the beeps you hear while checking out. If you hear one loud beep, that is normal; it’s great in fact. If you hear two beeps, that could mean there’s an error with what you are doing.

Always keep a look out for red lettered messages on your screen. But more so, do take the time to read what they say. For instance, you may go to scan your card and hear two beeps. Then a message will pop up saying something like “PIN does not match, please try again”; the reaction most people have is “What does that mean!? I haven’t entered a PIN yet!” All this means is that the kiosk accidentally scanned your library card twice (hence, the second beep). You see fellas; once your card number is scanned the system will open up the screen that allows you to enter your PIN number. That transition of screens literally takes a split second to open. So by the time that second beep has sounded off, it has already taken your card, and then taken it again in a new screen thinking that your scanned card number is your PIN number. To bring the whole point home, what do you do when you see that message? … You guessed it: JUST ENTER YOUR PIN NUMBER.

Once you have finished entering both your library card number and your PIN, you will arrive at your “Welcome Page”. I use that term because at the top left hand side of that screen you will see “Welcome (Your Name),” There’s one primary bit of advice I would like to pass on to you all; EVERY item you are wanting to check out, put them on the clear pad on top of the kiosk. Don’t scan every one of the items! Just put them on the pad instead. If you see the titles of your items pop up on the screen AND there is a green dot just left of all the titles, you have successfully checked out. If your item(s) don’t pop up on the screen once you have place them on the pad after a few seconds, then you will need to scan the item(s). And also, always make sure each of your items shows up on your receipt once you log out of your session. You can log out two different ways; first you can press “Sign Out” at the top right corner of the welcome page, or you can press “Enter” on the number key pad. In the event you don’t manage to do either one of those, the system will automatically log you out of the screen after 30 seconds of inactivity.

Now I could go on quite a bit longer about this stuff. Again, I’ve gotten to learn a lot about these kiosks. The only other thing I can say right now is that if you ever have questions about this system or you would like extra help using it: always ask staff members. No matter what tasks we take on in a day, the primary function we set for ourselves is to help you the best we can. And for us in Circulation, our main goal is to make sure all of you can be as comfortable using this system as we are.

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