I happened to visit NATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE DOCUMENTATION CENTRE-NASSDOC (ICSSR) at 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi 110 001. They hosted a meeting of "Ranganathan Research Circle". After the meeting, the hosts took us for a visit of their library. Well I was fascinated to see latest technology working for their library.
An ordinary library user needs to have his / her RFID embedded library card to get hold and carry home a book of his/her choice. That too without having to come in personal contact with library staff.
The reader would be able to enter the library by swiping one's card at a special entry / exit automated gate.
Automated Entry / Exit GateOnce in the library, the user can search library catalogue. It is computerised and available in the form of an online database commonly known as OPAC - Online Public Access Catalogue. I found three terminal aesthetically placed in front of large banner depicting the utility of catalogue.
Library OPACSearching OPAC could be useful. But as we know, most users would browse through the stacks. This comes naturally to human mind. One can easily browse the library stack area with help of guides. These guides are full of colours with well thought out background and labels.
Stack GuidesBook stakes are made of wood that matches with the lovely atmosphere of the library. The shelves are made of think glass slabs. Not wonder sliding books to withdraw give a silky touch and hence protect book edges.
Book with RFID TagAfter getting a document of choice, one can choose to sit in a well lighted reading area. Few computer workstations are also available. So internet and electronic databases are are also available to readers.
Reading AreaTaking a book home is easy. Keep it with library card on the Automated Issue / Return Kiosk. Issue it and take it away. The automated security exit would not make any fuss.
Automated Issue / Return Kiosk
I hope Indian Libraries would soon witness adoption of such innovative technologies. The library staff would be spared from routine issue / return activities. Now they can devote their time and energy in some better activities. The 'stereo typed public perception' about librarians would also change.
So can we call such libraries as ATM Libraries?