April 22, 2018

Eugene PL’s Big Buck Book Sorting System Wonky

By LJ Staff

The Eugene Public Library, OR, is still working out the bugs in its multimillion-dollar electronic book sorting system in the new downtown library that opened December 26, 2002. The Tech Logic system is designed to process roughly 350 books per hour, which frees up several staffers and saves the library as much as $350,000 annually. According to the local press, however, a phalanx of staffers must continually attend the machine to keep the books flowing. Nonetheless, Library Director Connie Bennett isn’t worried. The machine is new and the staff are unfamiliar with it, and she contends both will work into their respective grooves after an expected breaking-in period. “We have every expectation it will meet our needs,” she said. A part of that confidence may lie in the fact the library actually hasn’t paid the $2.2 million price tag for the machine yet, so it is in the company’s best interest to comb out any tangles. The installation of the radio-frequency-based book sorter also required issuing each patron a high-tech library card, which created clogs of its own at library checkout desks. Bennett still remains confident, saying that more than a dozen other libraries successfully adapted to the system and Eugene will too.