The Laramie County Library is Retiring our Sort Machine and Welcoming a New One

Beginning on November 26th, the Laramie County Library will be installing a new sort machine. This process will bring the following interruptions and changes to services:
• The two Library Mate™ item returns outside the building at the southwest entrance will be out of service.
• The two Library Mate™ item returns on the first floor of the library will be out service.
• There will be labeled bins by Cards & Accounts where library items can be manually returned.
• The Drive-Up Book Drop will be fully-functioning.
• Book discharges will be done by hand and will be delayed.
• The library will not have the space to accept large donations of books and other materials.
The installation is expected to be complete by December 14th. We appreciate our patron’s patience while we install our new sort machine.

After a long and productive eleven year career and over five million items returned, the Laramie County Library’s sort machine is officially headed into retirement. The average life expectancy for a library sort machine is seven years, so our Lyngsoe Library Conveyor 6000™ with four Library Mates™ and the Sort Mate™ 2000 has outdone itself with eleven years of outstanding service. It is well-deserving of a quiet retirement! While we are appreciative of everything our sort machine has done for us, we will be installing a new machine that will be faster, quieter, and more energy efficient. The sort machine will also be accompanied by new item returns for patrons to use!

Our old sort machine will be decommissioned on November 26th and our new sort machine will tentatively begin work on December 14th. All work transitions bring changes, and this one is no different; library patrons will notice a few interruptions to normal library services during the installation process.

Library patrons currently have three options for returning items: our two Library Mates™ inside the main gate near the Cards & Accounts Desk, our two Library Mates™ outside the building near the southwest entrance, and our drive-up book drop with two manual returns.

During the installation process, all four Library Mates™ will be out of service. Patrons can still utilize the drive-up return without any disruptions. If you are partial to returning books inside the library however, do not worry, you will still be able to do so! You can manually return your items in our temporary labeled bins that will be located in between our sort room window and the Cards & Accounts desk-just to the right of where you would normally return your library items. It will be like a blast from the past getting to place your books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. by hand into the bin!

Library patrons are not the only people who will notice the changes; our library employees will also be impacted by the installation. Normally, items are checked back in automatically when they go through the Library Mate™, but because all items will require manual returns, library employees will have to check everything back in by hand.

To put this into perspective, having an automated sort system means that a returned item is handled by an employee twice: once when an employee takes it from the sort bin and puts it on the cart, and once when an employee takes it off the cart and puts it back on the shelf. Checking items in manually, without the sort machine, means that a returned item will be touched five or six times before it ever makes it to the shelf!

As you can see, this will cause a slight delay in the time it takes for items to be discharged from your account (this particular blast to the past is not super-fast), and overdue fines or DVD rental fees may linger a bit longer than normal.

While we aren’t throwing an official retirement party for our old sort machine or hanging any decorations, you will see tarps covering the construction areas. You will also see signs placed throughout the library that will provide patrons with information on how to return items during the installation.

So, thank you to our sort machine for a successful eleven years of service, and welcome to our new sort machine, the Laramie County Library System is excited to have you!

Watch the behind the scenes video we made of the sorter machine in early 2016!