The Cedar Rapids Library will have the latest upgraded technology for automatic check-outs when it reopens in a new permanent downtown location following the 2008 flooding. Library public information officer, Amber Munson, says they are now testing the new system which uses “radio frequency identification” tags. Users just need to swipe their library card and the rest is automatic.

Munson says there are little white tags on the books or c-D’s or whatever you check out and you put them down and the system checks them out automatically. Munson says they had an older system that was destroyed in the flood, and this system was purchased with a $500,000 grant from the federal government. She says other libraries are looking at the same system.

She says lots of libraries have adopted the system and it has gone through some upgrades and the increase in the number of users has brought the price down. Munson says they are getting the system up and running now in their temporary location, so it is ready when they move into their new building. Muson says one of the big things libraries like about the system is it frees up staff to do other things.

Munson says taking staff away from the service desk and putting them out in the library is one of the things they are looking forward to. And she says it makes it faster for patrons so they don’t have to stand in line. Munson says the library checked out 700-thousand items last year, so the fast system can make a big difference. Work continues to put together the rest of the library that’ll be located in a downtown area that was not impacted by the flood.

Munson says they have finished the schematic design and are in the process of determining the cost and final design. They hope to unveil the design images in the spring and then have it open in late 2012. Munson says they also will install the new scan system at their west side branch in later November or early December.