September is Library Card Sign-Up Month!
According to the American Library Association, September is Library Card Sign-up Month. A time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all.
Lucas Grady Ragghianti recently received his first library card from the San Rafael Public Library, and he is pictured above with his grandfather Gary Ragghianti, who just happens to be the chair of the San Rafael Public Library Foundation! Lucas also participated in a summer reading program at the Library, where he received the snazzy T-shirt he is wearing!
While Lucas received his library card from the San Rafael Library, he can use it to check out books at any library in Marin County, in person or online. Lucas told us that he has yet to check out any books online because he really enjoys the in-person check-out system (and he looks like a happy customer!).
Foundation trustee Ann Rivo also recently marveled at the technology that allows her to check out a book online and choose the pick-up and return location. Ann was right that technology has transformed libraries, and on a recent tour of Bay Area libraries in Walnut Creek, Livermore and Castro Valley, guests from the Foundation and Friends of the Library saw firsthand some of the circulation systems that are completely automated! No hands touch books in these libraries until the books are ready to be placed back on the shelves or sent to their home library. To see a video of this system in action, known as an Automated Materials Handling System (AMHS), watch this video from the Seattle Public Library
An AMHS requires significant space; the system the group saw in the Castro Valley Library in May to accommodate its AMHS was pretty massive! Alas, space constraints at the downtown San Rafael Public Library mean that our system is neither up to date nor efficient. Sadly, our circulation system is in fact one room that measures 3.5' X 5.5'.
According to San Rafael Public Library Director Sarah Houghton, the outdated circulation room pictured above often results in damaged books and delays in getting books back onto shelves. While it is one of many challenges the current library faces, she is hopeful that the future San Rafael Public Library will have ample room for an AMHS to support the San Rafael library and also its participation in the Marin County library circulation system!