Technology Upgrades at the Library

This summer, the Grand Rapids Public Library is upgrading the technology in all of our libraries to make checking in and out material faster and easier. We will also be enhancing security for great protection of your library account.

What this means for our patrons:

1. Checking out material will be fast and easy. The new technology will allow you to check out multiple items at once. You won’t have to open every book and scan a barcode! With our new check out stations, you will either scan your library card or enter your username. Then you will enter your password, set your materials on the check out station, and voila, you are checked out. You can even email a receipt to yourself. No more losing slips of paper!

2. Your library account will be more secure. When you check out material, you will need to enter your password in addition to your library card number or username. To use the internet computers, you will need to enter your password in addition to your library card or internet card number. Now if your card is lost or stolen, you will have the added security in knowing that it can’t be used without your password. Don’t know what your password is? A staff member can help you get it reset.

3. Returned material will be instantly checked in. The moment you put an item in a book return, it will be instantly checked in. This reduces the amount of time it takes to get an item back on the shelf. That means you get the latest blockbuster book or movie sooner! This means there will no longer be a grace period for materials returned during closed days, so be sure to return your materials back on time.

As part of the technology upgrades, the lobby of the Main Library will be renovated to include new check out stations, a new customer service desk and a new information desk, among other things. Funding for the project is provided by the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation through a grant from the Sligh Memorial Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

Any of our staff is available and happy to answer any questions you have.

8 Responses to “Technology Upgrades at the Library”

  1. June 29, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    Will we still be able to have an actual person check out our books, or is all check out now automated?

    • June 29, 2012 at 4:12 am #

      Our staff will still be available to check out patrons at our new check out stations, answer any questions you have, give expert help and more. Our commitment to serving our patrons is our top priority. The great thing about our new technology is that it frees up our staff to focus more on our services to our customers.

      • June 29, 2012 at 4:27 am #

        Thanks for the info. Looking forward to seeing all of the updates!

  2. July 13, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    This past winter the library announced that due to budget cuts in the next fiscal year, we would have to lay off some staff. During the spring we worked with the affected people. A few found new positions outside the library and the rest were placed in other positions within the library. When the fiscal year ended June 30, the staff affected were all employed. Because our new technology makes checking in and out books so much faster, our staff are freed up to help our patrons in other ways, including being able to spend more time answering questions and helping navigate our collection.

  3. August 3, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Another important technological improvement would be the individual online account. It would be nice to see one is hold position.

    • August 6, 2012 at 5:21 am #

      Lifa, you can log into your individual account with your library card number (or user name of your choosing) and password. You can see your list of items checked out and their due dates and your list of items on hold. By clicking on the title of one of the items on hold you can see the current number of holds on that item as well. If you haven't logged in to your account before, please ask a staff member for help.

      • August 8, 2012 at 5:52 am #

        Thanks for your response, but my concern was not with seeing the number of holds, but what is my position on that number of holds. If there 38 holds, am I number 38? or 2 or 10. This will help if I want to temporarily suspend or cancel a particular hold. Other libraries already have this capability.

        • August 21, 2012 at 4:36 am #

          Good question! Our holds software takes into account the date a hold was placed, where it is to be picked up, and what copies are available at each location. Because of this, your position in a holds list is not strictly fixed. The date placed is the most important factor but if a book is returned to your pick-up location, and the next person in line is at a different branch, the hold will be captured for you first. Our experience with this method shows that items spend much less time in transit (between branches) and more time in patron's hands. If, for planning purposes, you'd like an idea of where you are in a large holds queue, you may always call usat 616.988.5400 or email