Library innovation pioneer, partners with Bibliotheca for return and sorting
Published: December 2017
In March 2017, a state-of-the-art return and sorting system was installed at Ansbach University Library, in Reutlingen, Germany. The brand new flex AMH™ system was only launched by Bibliotheca a few weeks earlier, and this was the first global installation.
“As a library for a young, thriving college, we want to offer our users the most advanced and up-to-date technology and services,” explains library director Jens Renner. This is not the first time that the Ansbach Library has been a pioneer in the use of innovative technologies. Seven years ago, it was one of the first scientific libraries that implemented RFID and an automated return system. “Our users were enthusiastic right from the start. We are proud to have the newest generation return and sorting system and set the new standard in the library industry.“ A key factor in the implementation of RFID was the desire to expand the opening hours to better fit the interests of students. The limited budget allowed no increase in the number of staff, so AMH was the ideal solution to introduce expanded non-staffed library hours. Along with other key factors, having a reliable and user-friendly return and sorting system makes this possible.
Advantages with the new flex AMH™ system
The newly installed system offers numerous advantages thanks to expanded functionality. It works much faster and is more powerful than the previous model. This saves the users time and helps to prevent queues. Users can return materials without authentication of their library card, which is important for busy students who need to return items quickly and easily. The user is also able to access their library account directly at the return touch screen if they require more details.
“With the expansion of the sorting locations to five bins, we were able to speed up and simplify the sorting process. This saves time that can be better used on other activities.” – Jens Renner, Library Director
There have been significant advantages for the library staff. “With the expansion of the sorting locations to five bins, we were able to speed up and simplify the sorting process. This saves time that can be better used on other activities,” explains Renner. Using bins with a spring-loaded floor also provides a more ergonomic solution for the processing of the returned materials, as the materials stay near the top of the bin and are accessible without requiring staff members to bend or reach. Additionally, all relevant components can be reached without effort if routine maintenance is required.
The system can grow with the library. With the new flex AMH being a modular system, the library can expand to meet evolving needs. As the library grows, sorting bins can be added, with custom configurations that include moving around corners or between floors. Additional return points can be added. The flex bulkSeparator™ can automatically separate returned media on the conveyor belt so multiple items can be returned at once and checked-in without issue.
The Ansbach University Library is open 80 hours during the week and is supported by a staff of 10 librarians. To extend the availability of library resources and access to the collection and space, the library operates almost 40 hours a week without staff in the building. Being able to offer these extended hours enables the library to stay open until midnight on workdays. Students may borrow and return items from the entire collection at times that are most convenient to their schedules. “The new return and sorting solution is very fast and extremely easy to use. Both students and employees appreciate the new features,” said Renner.
“Undoubtedly, the system is an integral part of our RFID system to help make workflows efficient, to relieve the staff and, last but not least, to continue to ensure our non-staffed hours run smoothly.”
“As a library for a young, thriving college, we want to offer our users the most advanced and up-to-date technology and services.”
Jens Renner, library director
About Ansbach University Library: The Ansbach University Library was opened in 1996. As a central institution of the state university of applied sciences, Ansbach University Library serves as the primary source of the literature and research materials within the scientific enterprise. In addition, the library is open to residents of the local community. More than 60,000 print and audiovisual media, and over 70,000 e-books are available at this location, but a network of libraries across Germany provides access to much more. Over 140,000 visitors and nearly 52,000 loans are recorded each year. In 2010 the library of Ansbach University ranked second in the BIX-Bibliotheksindex. In the years 2012, 2014 and 2016, the library was awarded the “Libraries – Partner of the Schools” seal of quality by the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs in cooperation with the Bavarian Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts.
Advantages with the new flex AMH™ system: The newly installed system offers numerous advantages thanks to expanded functionality. It works much faster and is more powerful than the previous model. This saves the users time and helps to prevent queues. Users can return materials without authentication of their library card, which is important for busy students who need to return items quickly and easily. The user is also able to access their library account directly at the return touch screen if they require more details.
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