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New Polaris self-check station with imbedded RFID software obviates need for SIP

Press Release: Polaris Library Systems [June 21, 2004]

Copyright (c) 2004 Polaris Library Systems

Abstract: GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced an approach to self-check that eliminates the need for an intervening protocol, such as SIP, to communicate with the library''s automation system, improving speed and performance and allowing a library to replicate staff-based circulation procedures in the self-check environment. The first library to purchase the self-check units is Fayetteville Public Library in Arkansas.

SYRACUSE, New York, June 21, 2004 -- GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced today a ground-breaking approach to self-check that eliminates the need for an intervening protocol (e.g., SIP) to communicate with the library's automation system, improving speed and performance and allowing a library to replicate staff-based circulation procedures in the self-check environment. Polaris ExpressCheck, which is fully integrated with the Polaris library automation system, allows library staff to control circulation options such as blocking thresholds on the self-check machine directly through Polaris. The first library to purchase the self-check units is Fayetteville Public Library in Arkansas. Fayetteville will install the units in their new 88,000 square foot main library scheduled to open October 9, 2004.

Polaris ExpressCheck can be used with barcodes or fitted to work with the implementations of interested RFID vendors. The majority of Polaris customers who use barcodes will be interested in the low-cost option and flexible capabilities the new unit offers. The Fayetteville implementation will utilize the RFID technology of Bibliotheca Inc. The Bibliotheca RFID software has been imbedded into the Polaris software, enabling Polaris to read the RFID tag like a barcode. No SIP transmission is required, which streamlines the checkout process and improves performance for library users. On the staff side, seven Polaris staff stations will have RFID capabilities for tagging new items and converting the existing collection. When the Fayetteville staff perform the conversion of their 190,000 items from barcode to RFID they will do so directly in Polaris. The library estimates that not having to do the conversion in the standard way -- that is, first in Bibliotheca and then link to Polaris -- will save around fifteen seconds per item, or close to 800 hours of staff time over the course of the conversion project. Bibliotheca is GIS’s first RFID partner for Polaris ExpressCheck.

"Fayetteville Public Library spent two years investigating the RFID market, talking to RFID vendors and to integrated library system (ILS) vendors" said Executive Director Louise Schaper. "We kept asking why we needed SIP, why we couldn't manage self-check through the ILS. Of the ILS vendors, only GIS could see the vision of what we wanted to do and committed to helping us do it with Polaris. Much of the "whiz" stuff vendors showed us wasn't important to us--having RFID integrated with our ILS was critical and was one of the key factors in our choosing Polaris. The GIS staff has been beyond awesome – they have exceeded our expectations in what they could do" she said.

"GIS had been hearing from our customers for some time that they wanted a better, more attractive, less expensive self-check station," commented Bill Schickling, GIS president and CEO. "We investigated the market and determined we could deliver a flexible unit that would meet the needs of libraries looking for a station with a smaller footprint at an affordable price. Our focus was on barcodes -- Fayetteville put the icing on the cake for us with their request for an RFID-ready self-check unit that wouldn’t need SIP to communicate with Polaris. This is the kind of challenge we love and we’re happy to be working with Bibliotheca to deliver exactly what Fayetteville needs."

Schaper said that she sees the work Fayetteville is doing with GIS and Bibliotheca as a milestone in the changes that have been made in self-check over the past several years. "We are located in the heart of Wal-Mart country. Wal-Mart has been a leader in the use of RFID so it seems fitting to us to be the first library in the country to break this new ground. The best innovations start with flexible companies that are not risk-averse and have a fresh perspective. GIS is taking the next leap in self-check to improve library staff productivity and library customer satisfaction," she added.

Located in the northwest corner of Arkansas, the Fayetteville Public Library has undergone a transformation over the past five years. As a result of an intensive community effort and strategic planning process, from 1997 to 2003 the library increased circulation 138%, grew its collection by 100%, realized a 103% increase in program attendance and a 140% increase in the number of library cardholders. This increase in community support will culminate in the opening of a new 88,000 square foot, $23.3 million main library in October 2004. In recognition of the indomitable spirit of the Fayetteville staff and the dedication and creativity with which they approach library service to their community of 58,047, the Fayetteville Public Library was named one of two 2004 Library of the Year Special Mention libraries by the Library Journal panel of judges. The library also received a 2003 Library of the Year Special Mention.

Features of Polaris ExpressCheck

  • Omni-directional barcode scanner eliminates need to exactly position items for scanning.
  • Integrated with Polaris so patrons can check account information and manage requests and renewals.
  • Completely customizable user interface that can be configured with the library logo, colors, preferred background, etc.
  • Customizable on-screen messages to promote library events or special loan period information.
  • Foreign language support that allows the user to select a preferred language is available as an option.

Technical Details of Polaris ExpressCheck

Standard Hardware Configuration. Includes one-year return to depot warranty.

  • 15 inch 260 NIT LCD monitor
  • Celeron 850 Processor
  • Resistive Touch Screen
  • 256 MB SDRAM
  • 40 GB HDD
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Windows XP Pro
  • Imbedded omni-directional barcode scanner
  • Receipt printer


  • Top-mounted billboard for signage
  • Page printer
  • Card swipe reader
  • Smart card reader
  • RFID antenna
  • Vandal resistant upgrade
  • Custom branding
  • Keyboard and track ball (or keyboard with touch pad)
Fayetteville Public Library Polaris ExpressCheck Implementation

  • 7 Staff RFID Stations with Bibliotheca readers
  • 2 Self-Check RFID Stations with Bibliotheca readers
  • 6 BiblioGates RFID Sensor gates
  • 1 RFID BiblioWand (for inventory)
  • 255,000 RFID tags
  • Bibliotheca readers installed on Tech Logic 9-bin conveyor sorting and check-in system

About GIS Information Systems

Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, GIS Information Systems is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the developer of the Polaris integrated library system. From its beginnings thirty years ago, GIS has served libraries with innovative technology, from its first circulation system in the mid-1970’s through its third-generation Polaris system. Polaris facilitates all aspects of library operations by providing innovative workflow solutions packaged in a familiar Windows interface. The Polaris staff client offers a complete solution for acquisitions, collection management, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loan and serials control. The Polaris PowerPAC extends this innovation to the end-user by providing a fully customizable library portal to the library’s catalog and other library resources, including enhanced bibliographic data such as book images, tables of contents, and reviews. With embedded metasearch capabilities, patrons can search the library's catalog, the web, other library catalogs and Z39.50 databases at one time using one common interface.

In addition to its library automation systems, GIS Information Systems, Inc. offers workflow analysis, retrospective conversion, database enhancement and network security services to libraries of all types. Thirty percent of GIS staff is composed of professional librarians. More information is available via telephone 800-272-3414 and at

About Bibliotheca Inc.

Bibliotheca Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bibliotheca RFID Library Systems AG of Switzerland. They are Europe's number one RFID library system with over 30 installations. Bibliotheca RFID Library System is the first system to integrate directly to an ILS system, which allows the fastest conversion of your library's collection to RFID. This method allows up to 3 items per minute to be converted to Bibliotheca's RFID tags known as BiblioChips™. The company also has the world's first CD/DVD secure RFID BiblioChip™ tag which affixes directly to the CD/DVD while allowing for nearly 100% detection between the RFID sensor gates. Conversion on the fly as items are checked-out assures that the most popular circulating items are tagged first with no additional staff. Bibliotheca's RFID Library System does not require a separate server or extra LAN, thus achieving a modular, low-cost solution. The RFID system can be interfaced using SIP2 or integrated directly to your ILS making the system transparent to the staff.

For further information on Bibliotheca please visit their website: or call toll free: 1-8777-BIBLIO and ask for Emmett Erwin. Bibliotheca will be exhibiting at ALA booth number 2244 where you can see the entire system. You can also sign up for the Bibliotheca Bus tour that kicks off in July when their mobile showroom will be touring North America. Make your reservation now for an on-site demonstration of the world's most advanced RFID Library System---BiblioChip. The Bibliobile will come to your library!

View Citation
Publication Year:2004
Type of Material:Press Release
Language English
Issue:June 21, 2004
Publisher:Polaris Library Systems
Company: GIS Information Systems
Polaris Library Systems
Products: Polaris
Libraries: Fayetteville Public Library
Subject: Product announcements
Record Number:10962
Last Update:2012-12-29 14:06:47
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00