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U of A libraries implement self-checkout system

CJ de Jong, head of access services at U of A libraries, said the new system has allowed for faster and easier checkout.

University of Alberta libraries have implemented a new self-checkout system, which aims to quicken library use for students.

Each university library is equipped with a new kiosk to check out items, along with the UAlberta Library Checkout app, which will allow for checkout using a personal handheld device.

CJ de Jong, head of access services at U of A libraries, said the new system has allowed for faster and easier checkout.

“This app simply allows people to borrow books from the library either by using a kiosk in the library or they can use their own handheld device,” De Jong said. “They basically scan their OneCard, they scan their books, and the items are signed out to them.” 

De Jong added that the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in implementing the new system.

“So this type of self-checkout system, it’s just better in terms of not having to touch anything, you basically scan your card, you scan your books, you don’t have to touch a lot of stuff,” he said. “You can use your own device, so you don’t even have to touch anything else.”

“It just makes it better for people not having to touch things and potentially share germs. It makes people more comfortable, being able to just use your own device.” 

According to de Jong, this type of system has already been implemented by other libraries, which allowed the staff at U of A libraries to “see how they were using it” and learn from those experiences. 

“This is one of the technologies that is really at the forefront in terms of making it easier for people,” he said. “It’s very cost effective too for the library — the other systems we had were much more expensive.”

He concluded by praising the library staff and all the work they have done during the pandemic.

“I’m really proud of my staff; they have been working so much on campus during the pandemic,” de Jong said. “You know, it’s just taking the extra steps of precautions, wearing masks, wearing gloves, all the things we had to do right at the start of the pandemic. I thank my staff for all the work they have done to keep things going and moving during that pandemic.” 

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