District 10 Legislator

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Kevin Hardwick - District 10

Legislature accepts grant for Libraries to install self checkout system, improve efficiency

The Erie County Legislature approved a grant totaling more than $1 million that will be used to complete the installation of a self checkout system that improves efficiency in the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries. The implementation of this system will save $500,000 annually.

During its Oct. 14 session, the Legislature accepted the grant, released by the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, to complete the implementation of a Radio Frequency Identification System. Already in use at the Central Branch and other Buffalo Branches, the RFID System allows patrons to check out materials without the assistance of a library employee. ID chips will be placed on all loaned materials, including books, DVDs and music CDs.  The ID chip replaces the antiquated system of scanning a barcode. 

The Republican Caucus, which has been working diligently to implement proficient operational practices, supports the use of this grant to greatly improve customer service and efficiency. The efficiencies enabled by RFID will help to mitigate a portion of the impact of the potential budget reductions proposed for 2011.

“This new checkout system will allow library employees to spend more time assisting patrons who are looking for materials or who need help. With proposed spending reductions in the County, we must look at ways to do more with less, and this is a perfect example of how one change will produce cost-saving results,” said Republican Caucus Minority Leader John J. Mills, District 13.

According to the grant application, adopting RFID technology allows the Library to significantly decrease the amount of time spent on materials handling at each of the locations.

“This investment will greatly improve operations at the libraries, while saving money annually. With the acceptance of this grant the final 16 libraries can be equipped with the RFID system,” said Legislator Kevin Hardwick, District 10.

The RFID project began in 2009 with a $1.7 million grant, which was followed by additional grants totaling $444,000. Installation of the system at the Kenmore Branch is expected to begin this fall and could be up and running by spring 2011. The City of Tonawanda, Tonawanda, and Grand Island branches will follow. All 37 branches will be equipped with the RFID system by the end of 2012.

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