Light pens have been an even greater source of concern to librarians than back up devices. Half or more of the library's light pens are out for repair each quarter said one librarian. Another has contracted for local light pen maintenance because even a dozen spares were not enough. Two vendors claim that many of the pens returned for repair are in perfect working order. They have merely been incorrectly used. The laser scanner introduced by CLSI two years ago would have been a welcome answer to these complaints had it not cost in excess of $7,000. The high price made it a good buy only for libraries with circulation concentrated at a few points, It did not appear cost effective at a branch with only 50,000 to 100,000 circulations a year. The recent announcement by CLSI of a $4,500 laser terminal is, therefore, good news.
Not only will a library be able to justify a laser terminal at any circulation point, but because of the units operating simplicity a library can also consider placing some of the units out for patron self-charging. Initially the new terminal will only scan bar-coded labels, but by early 1982 a unit for OCR-A labels will be available.