In order for customers to safely and easily obtain library materials, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) offers two permanent options for contact-free checkouts, self-checkout stations and mobile app checkouts.
“Our award-winning IT staff developed low-cost, easily maintained self-checkout stations to offer customers more options for self-service, an especially important option for those wishing to minimize physical contact when visiting our branches,” Brian Auger, county library administrator, said in a prepared statement. “They are also a great way to save time by avoiding lines.”
This month, the Bridgewater, Hillsborough and Somerville branches have been selected as locations to pilot the new self-checkout stations. The remaining branches are scheduled to obtain their stations later in 2021.
“SCLSNJ is continually seeking ways to enhance the customer experience,” Cindy Mangel, manager of adult learning and community engagement, public services, said in the statement. “For those customers who wish to independently check out their materials, they will find the interface very user-friendly.”
The self-checkout stations allow library customers to check out their own materials and provide simple, step-by-step instructions. Users are prompted to scan the barcode located on their physical or digital library cards, followed by the barcodes located on the materials that they wish to take home.
“SCLSNJ is committed to promoting lifelong learning by providing the community with a variety of easily accessed information (books, e-books, audiobooks, digital magazines),” Rebecca Crawford, branch manager, said in the statement. “The new self-checkout stations will offer customers the convenience to quickly select and check out their own items. As always, SCLSNJ strives to provide personalized connections to library materials and we are pleased to additionally continue offering checkout services at the main service desk.”
In addition to the convenience and safety benefits, the self-checkout stations are also environmentally-friendly, as they do not produce paper waste.
While the stations do not have receipt printers, customers are able to receive receipts via email.
Customers can opt in for checkout receipts by logging in to their account at catalog.sclsnj.org and going to the opt-in and notifications section.
“While continuing to provide lifelong learning to our communities, we needed to explore ways to reshape our space during the pandemic,” Susan Kane, regional circulation supervisor, said in the statement. “The simple self-checkout component on SCLSNJ’s upgraded app has been well received by our customers. We are also excited for the permanent contact-free checkout stations, which are perfect for those who do not have mobile devices with them.”
Last July, SCLSNJ upgraded its mobile app to include a simplified self-checkout process. The updated app is currently available for download in the Google Play Store for Android (SCLSNJ.org/android) and the Apple Store for iOS operating systems (SCLSNJ.org/iOS).
For more information about the self-checkout stations, contact Lynn Hoffman, director of operations at email@example.com.