Automated check-out gantry for borrowing books to be piloted at National Library Building from May 18

The new self-checkout service by the National Library Board, 'Grab-n-Go', will let visitors borrow books without the need to visit a check-out station.

Naren Sankar

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Published: 17 May 2022, 6:02 PM

Borrowing books at the National Library Building will be made “even easier” from May 18, thanks to a pilot of an automated self-checkout gantry system. 

Called ‘Grab-n-Go’, it will be installed at the study lounge on the fifth floor of the building, said the National Library Board (NLB) in a press release on Tuesday (May 17). The gantry will be able to automatically detect and check out books as visitors exit the area. 

Users will need to scan their identification card (ID) or NLB eCard at the gantry to enter the study lounge. They can then choose up to eight books from a collection of about 5,000 English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil adult titles and carry the books out by hand when exiting the lounge.

The gantry will detect and automatically check out the books using ultra-high frequency radio identification technology when patrons tap their ID or NLB eCard to exit the lounge. 

The pilot is expected to run till early next year. NLB will review the gantry’s usage and evaluate feedback before deciding if Grab-n-Go will be rolled out at other public libraries. 

“We are always keen to try new ways to enhance our patrons’ experience at our libraries and archives. RFID technology has enabled self-checkouts at all our libraries, and now, with the Grab-n-Go pilot, the checkout process will be automated, which will make it even more convenient for our patrons. We hope to roll out more Grab-n-Go systems in time, to enable our libraries and archives to be the go-to learning marketplace,” said NLB Chief Executive Officer Ng Cher Pong. 

The ‘Grab-n-Go’ pilot is part of ongoing efforts to leverage technology to enhance the experience for patrons under the Library and Archives Blueprint 2025 plan.

It is also one of the replacement services for the Central Public Library, which will close temporarily from Jun 13 for a revamp.

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