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Old 01-19-2016, 09:12 PM
155 posts, read 101,428 times
Reputation: 69



I visited my local library for the first time in a while and I searched for a somewhat popular book. The library catalog said that the book was available, but when I went to the specified location, to my frustration, the book wasn't there.

So it got me thinking. Why don't libraries track the location of every item in their catalog so that they can know right away if the book has been removed and not put back in its proper location? It doesn't seem like most public libraries are doing this right now, as I couldn't find any searches on it (and for me, if I can't find it on Google, I question its existence). Wouldn't it be as simple as putting those stickpads that you can put on a phone to keep track of it on the books? Or something combining the book's bar code and a location tracker?

What do you think? Some questions to start...Is this even really a problem? If so, can the above solution be implemented at a profit?
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:22 PM
Location: Chicago
55 posts, read 97,334 times
Reputation: 44
I've had the same problem at my local library. Just this week, in fact. But it wasn't the first time. A book that I placed a hold on wasn't on the shelf for pickup. The librarian told me to check back in a day or two because my book might have been mis-shelved.

I'm not your market - my library is - but I do have a need for the solution you describe. There might not be an exact solution, which is good for you. I'd look at how manufacturers, logistics companies, and Amazon track inventory. Look at the American Library Association and allied professional organizations to take the temperature of your customers.

Here's the problem that I think you need to solve: how to help libraries (and their users) locate and track available books and other media in real time within the library itself. You want to create, market, sell, and service a technology solution that will replace interns and pages.

Here are a couple of challenges: you can't track the media off-site because it will raise privacy issues. You can't connect media to personally identifiable information for the same reason. And you need to figure out how to implement this system in such a way that it costs little to buy and maintain, because public libraries are always subject to budget limitations.

What profit is there in the idea? It depends on the ease of use of your solution, and how quickly you can grow in a parsimonious market.
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:55 AM
33,016 posts, read 27,448,123 times
Reputation: 9074
When books are not where they 'should' be, the usual explanation is that a patron moved it from its expected location. And usually this happens because the person picked up the book to peruse or while considering checking out the book, but did not complete the process. (Libraries often DON'T want you to put the book back where it belongs - that's how books become missorted and unfindable - and direct you to leave books for staff to reshelve.
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:39 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, 615' Elevation, Zone 8b - originally from SF Bay Area
44,550 posts, read 81,117,303 times
Reputation: 57750
Libraries are not likely to spend a lot of money to provide more accurate book location information while their patronage is on the decline, and they depend on tax revenue to survive. With the increasing popularity of E-Readers, people download books from the libraries and don't have to go in nearly as often. Ours is always busy but mostly with Jr. High/High School kids working on homework together.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:03 PM
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
6,033 posts, read 6,143,505 times
Reputation: 12529
IMO, "Libraries" are polishing the deck chairs on the Titanic. They won't serve much purpose beyond, I'm guessing, 20-40 years from now. Depends how cheap and fast full-function tablets become an "everybody has one" sort of thing. ePub, Kindle, PDF, and similar are sweeping paper books away, I personally cleaned mine out in 2010 upon the advent of the first iPad, but I'm in the tech business and see the future on trends like that. Kindle, e.g., is orders of magnitude more efficient and cheaper than paper books from the author straight to consumers. No more middlemen.

When tablets are cheap as one book, say $20-40, and WiFi is nearly everywhere in urban areas, well...let's just say publishing has been on hard times past few years as-well. That will accelerate. Good luck maintaining IP on a book that isn't printed on paper. I think a lot of writing is going the way of the Dodo Bird too, for that reason.

But before the day when libraries are just a nice place for old people and bums to lounge a few hours...

...I think you're suggesting RFID or similar for books. Yes, to track inventory, such things are already in use in other industries, and they are indeed a great idea. Couple different types of tech already out there.

How do you monetize it, in this case? Wholesalers do it as part of ever-advancing supply chain management, with obvious benefits to JIT availability and manufacturing. What's the angle here?
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