Advanova- Blog-Email-Library Returns

Smart return technologies have revolutionised the ways in which libraries now work today. Libraries across the country are discovering the measurable advantages of installing smart returns solutions for their patrons, staff and entire organisation.

What is smart return technology?

Smart returns are automated technological systems that enable an increased efficiency in the returning and sorting of books or resources in libraries, amongst other organisations. 

There’s no doubt that the introduction of smart returns into libraries has improved productivity, created cost savings and upgraded services across the board. 

Items are returned to shelves at a faster pace than ever before, resources are identified, retrieved and booked within seconds which all creates a better user experience for patrons. 

Since the category of smart returns has changed completely over recent years, what smart returns technology is essential for today’s modern library?

A man returning a library book through a whole in the wall

5 smart return technologies to improve library services

1. Library sorters

It’s a fact that manually sorting returned items and taking them back to their homes on the shelves is time consuming for staff. With the advent of library sorters, staff can work on other projects and there’s a quicker circulation of books due to the fact that books are easily sorted, returned to shelves and ready for loan again.

AdvaNova’s library sorters are automated systems that can operate at high speeds with a minimal use of power to create valuable time-saving benefits. The AdvaNova sorting system starts with a one bin check-in unit and is expandable to a multi-floor system with robotics.

The sorter system’s key component is a sorting module which can sort items to both sides and has an open design to fit in any library. Additional modules can be added at any time to increase the amount of sorting locations to support busy environments. 

For many libraries, a compact modular sorter can create an efficient and effective library experience while fitting into a range of different spaces. Our sorters enable easy returns for users and staff don’t have to manually sort items, therefore giving them more time to allocate to patrons and new projects. 

The sorter will re-active the security on the RFID tag when an item is returned, ensuring resources are properly managed and maintained. AdvaNova has just installed a library sorter at the University of Essex, amongst other customers, who are already taking advantage of the key library benefits sorters provide. 

2. Sort assistant

The AdvaNova sort assistant is an effective tool to help support libraries enhance their workflow. This exclusive software can significantly cut lengthy return times and processes for libraries while improving resource management or identification in a timely manner. 

Sort assistant software is a unique Library RFID product that minimises the returns and sorting time, plus it allows library staff to process multiple items in the returns room in a single step.

If your library needs to streamline budgets, the AdvaNova sort assistant can be a suitable choice. It can be paired with a smart return chute so items are returned via the chute and library staff consult the sort assistant to identify where the item should be shelved. 

Our sort assistant connects to the chosen library management system and features a RFID pad and receipt printer for easy, simple sorting resolution. An optional thermal printer is available, or libraries can use existing printers. 

The RFID pad enables the processing of multiple items using a colour coded sort criteria display, making the whole process very easy to deploy.

A lady returning a library book via smart returns

3. Live scanning wand

If you’re looking to transform the working days of library staff, the AdvaNova live scanning wand could be the answer. The wand allows employees to conduct dynamic library inventories, stocktakes, streamline returns and create alerts for:

  • Hold / reservation items
  • Claimed returns
  • Missing items
  • Wrongly shelved items
  • Custom exception reasons

This solution is unique as it connects with your library management system in real time. Live scanning wands connect instantly with the LMS so that any actions performed with the wand will update the LMS. In addition, any changes made in the LMS will be identified in the wand software for a more seamless, effective process. 

4. Smart return chutes

Smart return chutes are available as both internal and external chutes. Just recently, AdvaNova installed a combination of multiple internal smart return chutes and one external return chute at University College Dublin in Ireland. 

  • Smart internal return chutes are perfect for busy libraries whose patrons want to return items using a simple, smooth process. Internal smart return chutes are situated inside the building. Many of our return chute customers, including Imperial College London, are already benefitting from the advantages these products supply for libraries. 
  • Smart external return chutes are ideal for patrons who want to return items outside the library’s hours, creating a more convenient return process for patrons and enabling libraries to efficiently secure their resources. 

Both internal and external smart return chutes work in similar ways, with patrons being able to return multiple items at the same time. The items are automatically removed from the patrons account and the security status re-activated. This saves time, without the need to queue at the circulation desk, and provides a seamless transaction. With the external chute this can all be done without entering the library.

By streamlining the book handling process, libraries can allocate their resources more effectively, optimizing staff productivity and reduce labour costs.

AdvaNova offers smart internal and external return chutes that provide a more cost-effective alternative for organisations. Combined with the sophisticated sort assistant, staff significantly reduce the time and effort required to sort and reshelve books manually. Books are readily available and easily located within the library, improving user satisfaction and overall accessibility to the collection.

5. Smart lockers

To support our customers in creating flexible services, AdvaNova supplies smart lockers and vending machines for libraries. Both of these products will update the LMS to assist staff workflow and resource management. Plus, smart lockers and vending machines can be situated away from the library so users can access resources around the clock at a time that suits them. 

Designed specifically for use in public environments, the modular AdvaStore locker allows reservations to be collected and items returned in remote locations, such as student halls of residence, at any time of day. The robust and economic choice, AdvaStore allows users to pick up items placed on hold without going to the library. 

AdvaNova also create vending machine style smart lockers for customers.  The AdvaVend Locker system allows up to 80 items to be stored in a standard locker and enables returned items to become available again in an instant. With a transparent door making the contents visible and a customizable electronic lock, the AdvaVend increases efficiency for staff and convenience for users.

This type of technology empowers libraries to reach a wider audience and helps support users to engage with books, items and resources when they previously may not have done so.

A librarian working on a computer in a library

How can we help?

AdvaNova’s smart return technologies are highly customisable to the needs of any business or organisation. We partner closely with our customers to make sure we can provide solutions to meet their exact requirements while creating cost savings and time efficiencies with our state of the art products.

Support and Maintenance

Our commitment to outstanding ongoing support is one of the key reasons why customers return to us again and again. Whenever they have an issue, we listen and create a swift, effective solution.

AdvaNova’s specialist maintenance is designed to prevent failures, lengthen equipment lifetimes and improve your ROI. Support can be provided on-site by our fully trained in-house engineers or remotely via our customer support help desk.

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