Space technology comes to the Seaside Library

Seaside Library's new system tracks items.

In a galaxy far, far away, Mr. Spock and Luke Skywalker were walking through the local intergalactic library when they spotted a couple of books and tried to walk with them out the door. But they hadn’t checked them out yet and an alarm went off stopping them at the door! Is this space technology? How do library staff know? It’s actually not that futuristic. If libraries have a radio frequency identification system, it will set off an alarm that tells staff exactly what items Spock and Luke were interested in. Apparently Luke wanted to borrow “Vader’s Little Princess” to read to the new crop of young Jedi, while Spock was more interested in “Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare.” Hmm, a new Vulcan family just might be in his future.

Now this sounds space age, but if you visited the Seaside Public Library recently, you may have noticed something new.

As you walked through the library lobby and into the main doors into the library, you may have noticed there are now three clear gates you walk between as you enter into the main library by the circulation desk. These clear gates are part of the library’s brand new radio identification system and just like Skywalker and Spock the gates will tell staff if items aren’t checked out properly.

Thanks to the Friends of the Seaside Library and the Seaside Public Library Foundation, the library is upgrading with the system. This system has been a long time coming. One of our current board members remembers talking about this before the current library building was built, which is 10 years ago. Quite a few libraries in Oregon have had the identification system for over 15 years. For Seaside, the original price tag was too expensive. But as technology and software changed over the years (and actually got better), prices dropped and finally with the help of the library friends and foundation, we were able to make the purchase.

You may have noticed when you walk into grocery stores or other large businesses, every time you go through their main entrances, you will pass through similar kinds of gates. It’s a very close system to what the library will be using. Every item is tagged for security and inventory purposes and when that item passes through the gates and isn’t deactivated, it will set off an alarm. For the library it’s a red light and a sound. This will alert staff that we need to check that the items have been checked out correctly. These systems use what is called a passive radio signal, it only activates a signal when it goes through the gates and emits far less radio frequency wavelengths than any cell phone.

The library hopes to use this new system for better accuracy in checking in and out items, inventory of the Library, and also for security purposes. We want to make sure that Mr. Spock and Luke Skywalker learn the proper way to check out books. We also hope that the new system will help you be able to have more confidence in our accuracy of checking items in and out. Coding the entire library will take some time and please be patient with us if you see some books missing from shelves while staff are working on them.

So come on over, visit the library and check out the new identification system. We can’t promise to beam you up, but we are working on making your experience enjoyable here at the Seaside Public Library.

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