Have you considered giving patrons access to a walk up book scanning service in your library? Sure you've probably looked at it once or twice a few years back; between the Google book initiative and the popularity of e-book readers hitting the market, it would be hard not to consider offering the service in your library. However, chances are, the idea was dismissed for a variety of different reasons (cost, time, training effort, support, etc.). But times have changed, technology has advanced and the needs of the library have been heard and adopted. So let's take a look at 5 reasons now might be the time to consider book scanning in your library.
Cost: I remember the first book scanner we brought to market; if you wanted colour scanning you were on the hook for over $40,000. Save a select few, no public library was willing or able to invest that kind of money for a book scanner. However, technology has been come more advanced and more readily available driving the cost of the technology way down. What used to be $40,000 now sells for under $10,000. Best of all they also include a coin box or card swipe interface to allow for cost recovery.
Staff Intervention: When I think back to some of the book scanners we used to sell and their accompanying software I remember feeling like you needed a degree in computer sciences from MIT to operate them. If someone experienced in the industry struggled with the software how were library staff ever expected train, retain and educate patrons on it's use? Luckily, manufacturers listened and responded. Today's modern book scanners utilize a touch screen interface with clear and concise operating instructions guiding users through every step of the process; virtually eliminating the need for staff intervention.
Computer Technology: The old $40,000 book scanner wasn't the end of it; not even close. On top of the book scanner, libraries also had to purchase new computers and new software licenses adding to the support burden of their IT departments. Then came the challenge of locking down the computer but still allowing patrons to email, print and save. Offering a simple service to patrons turned out not to be so simple. With today's modern book scanner though users are present with a locked down, embedded, touch screen PC interface which allows for hassle free scanning, emailing, printing and saving. And if the files are too big to email, patrons can simply insert their USB key and save directly to a mass storage device.
Protect Your Collection: Many libraries have rare and fragile books. When patrons flop this books face-down on photocopiers and copy page after page after page the books become worn and damaged. No destructive book scanners cradle books face-up, protecting the spine. Patrons can simply turn the page and push the scan button to capture all the pages they need without harming your rare and fragile collection.
Think Of Trees!!!: Without book scanning, what's the only other options? That's right, photocopiers. We all have them, and if you're like me you despise these evil contraptions. The chug along consuming toner, paper and electricity like it's going out of style. Isn't it in the best interest of your corporate social responsibility plan to consider a "green alternative"? Giving patrons the option to scan lowers costly photocopier expenses and helps reduce your carbon footprint.
I could go on for hours about why scanning in libraries is a great solution (I didn't even touch on your ability to control copyright permissions with scanning) but hopefully my 5 Reasons To Consider Public Book Scanning In Your Library has given you a reason to give public scanning another chance.
For more information on library book scanners please visit our Book Scanner page