May 22, 2018

Rochester Library marks ten years with Automated Material Handling (AMH)

Rochester Library marks ten years with Automated Material Handling (AMH)

Minnesota’s Rochester Library has reached a milestone – a full decade of automated material handling with Lyngsoe Systems’ solution.  And circulation services manager Andrew Stehr speculates that the AMH system, that automatically checks in materials and sorts them to appropriate bins, has saved time daily over the past ten years; a lot of it. On a typical day, he says, about eight hours of sorting time has been eliminated.

Today staff are able to use that time for valuable tasks such as outreach, working with local colleges, programming and even book repair. And the appearance of the library has changed over the past ten years too. A decade ago the library’s backroom contained a large pile of returned materials. Finding anything specific required some digging. Now the AMH automatically checks in and sorts the materials into bins, to carts and then to shelves. That means each item requires just three touches, on average, from check-in to the shelf.

In addition, AMH helps prevent many of the previously three dozen to four dozen weekly disputes in which the library has no record of a returned item while a patron claimed the item was returned. Before AMH was installed, Stehr has recalled, many of those disputes ended with the library staff discovering the item was simply misplaced in the library.

Now the material management is not only more accurate, it’s faster. The return-to-shelf time was between three and seven days, ten years ago. Today, the quickest check-ins are completed in only around six hours, while during busy periods, a book could take up to two days to get back on shelves. Now that’s something to celebrate!

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