There’s an old Jerry Seinfeld joke that says “the library is that one friend from school who’ll let you borrow anything… if you’ll just be his friend”.
But it’s even better if any of your friends improve themselves and keep up with the times, which is what libraries in the City of Sydney are doing in a new scheme to make themselves more technologically savvy.
In a new announcement from the City of Sydney, the nine libraries under its jurisdiction will roll out new technology, upgraded facilities, self-service kiosks and enhanced customer service over the coming months.
A big part of the City’s library upgrades will include radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to give visitors faster, more accurate and user-friendly transactions, while self-service kiosks will let people check their loans in and out quicker and faster.
The City will also upgrade the libraries’ printing, copying and scanning facilities and computers, giving visitors access to the latest Microsoft Office applications, internet browsers and Skype for video and voice calls.
Another technological integration will be the installation of new self-service kiosks to give library visitors the option of managing their own loan accounts, make the borrowing process smoother, and free up the librarians’ time to assist with other visitor enquiries.
According to the City, library visitors will be able to check out and return multiple items in one go.
But that’s not all. If you’re paranoid that a library cop will visit your property to interrogate you about that overdue copy of Tropic of Cancer from 1971 (bad year for libraries), the City is turning over a new leaf, at least temporarily.
In a 12-month trial to encourage more visitors to libraries and make it easier to return books, the City is waiving fines on overdue items until 1st July, 2017.
The City couldn’t offer information on costings for these upgrades at this time.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s libraries had served the community well for more than 100 years, with accessible branches, multicultural programs and exhibition space for artists.
“New technologies are changing the way we read and the role of libraries, so we’re working hard to make sure these fantastic community facilities remain functional and centrally relevant to our communities,” Ms Moore said.
The City offers more than 400,000 books through its nine library branches and two library links, as well as thousands of CDs, DVDs, audio books, rooms for hire, computers and internet access.
According to the City, its libraries also provide thousands of ebooks, ecomics, emagazines and enewspapers.