Self-service kiosks are interactive computer terminals from which customers can have access to information. In the context of library information, these terminals provide researchers and students alike with a convenient way to borrow, return, or renew access to material and services without having to wait in line, as was the case with the traditional methods. Enis (2012) suggests that the service eases librarian workload, allowing them to focus better on assisting patrons; while at the same time they decrease funding and usage pressures on libraries as the technology enables students to gain more accessibility to e-books as well as raise the visibility of certain services and collections.
An operational feasibility study of the proposed kiosk will measure how well the system will solve problems and satisfy the requirements developed during system development analysis. One of the main reasons for making a proposal to set up a self-service kiosk is that patrons will be able to check their materials in and out. This may, as a result of them constantly have to deal with long lines or a lack of access to materials whenever they fail to get attended to at the local library (Paternoster, 2017). The operational feasibility of the kiosks may need to be assessed by asking the following questions;
1. Does the current system offer any shortcomings worth considering implementation of the kiosks?
2. Will the kiosks boost a reduction or increase in costs?
3. If put in place, will the kiosks be used?
4. Will the kiosks bring forth maximum use of available resources, and is it expandable?
Since the amount of effort applied in running the kiosk will obviously supersede the demand for the kiosk; it is best to decide whether there are available alternatives as well as figure out the importance of implementing the kiosk; that is, whether it will benefit a majority of the library users.
In looking at the technical feasibility of setting up a self-service kiosk for the library, there are a few questions that need to be answered before determining whether a project is feasible. They include;
1. Does the technology exist?
2. Is manpower available to maintain the system?
3. Is the proposition practical?
4. Does technology have the capacity to handle the solution?
5. Can the system be made available within the given resource constraints?
Since this project has the power to receive a yes response for all the above questions, then the proposed system is technically feasible since this technology is readily available and has the capacity to promptly receive sufficient support for the project requirements.
This feasibility aspect is commonly referred to as the cost/benefit analysis, and it is used to assess the effectiveness of a new system. The essence of this is usually to determine the benefits and savings expected from a candidate system as compared to the costs of the proposed system (Paternoster, 2017). If the benefits outweigh the costs, then implementation of the kiosk will be seen as viable. Questions raised in evaluating the economic feasibility include;
1. What is the approximate cost of setting up, hardware and software, and running the kiosk for around five years?
2. Will patrons actually benefit from the kiosk within the next five years, or will most of them move online for similar services?
3. Is it much better to add technological improvements to the current local public library?
4. What are the finance options available for the library?
The project needs to portray the value for investment; otherwise, it would be a waste of resources attempting to incorporate it. Bibliotheca (2018) also encourages that a self-service kiosk serves the benefit of taking over workload from library staff as well as allowing patrons to have access to a myriad of resources. Thus, the kiosks can be determined to be economically viable for now and in the near future.
Instructions on How to Use the Self-Serve Kiosk
The kiosk will allow patrons with a valid library ID to borrow and return material from the local public library. All the instructions will be displayed on the systems touch screen with self-explanatory guides towards the services one may want to access. Kindly be sure to read the instructions displayed as you move from screen to screen. If you need any assistance, feel free to contact any of the library staff at the contact center on the number 0800 111 111.
Step 1: Press the ‘START’ button on the touch screen to begin your transaction.
Step 2: The system will prompt the user to input their ‘SMART CARD’ containing their library ID, whereby it will scan it for validity by checking the barcode highlighted on the back of the card. Please ensure that your card is valid by pressing ‘DETAILS’ to check for account status information if uncertain.
Step 3: Proceed with the transaction by pressing ‘Next’ whereby the system will prompt you to choose whether to ‘BORROW’ or ‘RETURN.’
Step 4: If borrowing or returning material, place one item at a time on the pad to begin the transaction.
• Your transaction is successful if the barcode, title of the item, and due date are displayed on the screen.
• You will then be prompted to proceed by adding another item; choose ‘YES’ if you have more items and ‘NO’ if otherwise.
Step 5: Press ‘END’ to finish the transaction, after which you will receive a printed receipt from the kiosk with a summary of your transactions.
Note: An Illustration of these instructions can be seen in the Use-Case Diagram Below.
Bibliotheca. (2018, March 15). Self Service self-check Library Systems. bibliotheca library solutions. https://www.bibliotheca.com/library-self-service/
Enis, M. (2012, September 12). Helping Users Help Themselves with Self-Service Technologies | Product Watch. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=helping-users-help-themselves-with-self-service-technologies-product-watch
Paternoster, L. (2017, August 1). Managing a project to design and install library self-service software. Leon Paternoster. https://www.leonpaternoster.com/posts/managing-self service-project/