SYRACUSE — In 2009, patrons of the Northwest Branch of the Davis County Library will be able to steer past the checkout lines and check books out for themselves.

The library plans to add three self-checkout stations to the branch, located in Syracuse.

Using a scanner, patrons will scan library cards and bar codes in their books and receive a receipt.

A similar system is set up in Salt Lake County's libraries, said Chris Sanford, Davis Library director.

Recently, during a visit to the South Jordan branch, Sanford noted that she saw only one circulation staff member during a 45-minute span because patrons were taking care of the checkout by themselves, though the technology is somewhat different from what Davis County will buy.

The three $6,000 touch screens will utilize existing computers, scanners, printers and don't require new desks or wiring, Sanford said.

Librarians will also have a touch screen to monitor the checkout process and to help out if needed, Sanford said.

For 2009, the new system will be implemented in Syracuse as a test, and if it's favorable, Sanford said, she will plan to implement the system at one branch each year.

Adding those systems should mean that the library likely won't have to add any personnel, she said.

Originally, radio frequency identification tags seemed to be the only option to adequately track books.

"It would be cost prohibitive to put antennae into each book," Sanford said, adding that people still manage to steal books with RFID tags.

The new self-checkout system for Davis wouldn't include any theft deterrent, but county officials already rely on residents' honor to check books out without stealing them, though higher-risk items, such as music and audio CDs and DVDs, are kept behind the counter.

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