Theives cost library thousands

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By Carol A. Clark

About a thousand items disappear from the Los Alamos County libraries each year. That equates to some $20,000 and 175 hours of staff time spent searching for items listed in the catalog but missing from the shelf, said Library Manager Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan during her presentation to County Council at White Rock Town Hall Tuesday.

Councilors were clearly stunned. Councilor Jim  West shook his head saying, “I find that incredible in this community.”

West asked which category of books was stolen most often, and Kalogeros-Chattan said the number-one choice of local thieves is art books, which are extremely costly.

Kalogeros-Chattan and library Technical Services Manager Doris Logan conducted a PowerPoint presentation detailing the advantages and security benefits associated with purchasing a Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) system:

Self-checkout of materials for patrons;

An inventory of the library collection; and

A security system for the library collection.

“One of the biggest advantages is security,” Kalogeros-Chattan said. “RFID ‘security gates’ would prevent tagged items from being removed from the libraries without beibg checked out.”

RFID has been used in retail for security inventory control since the 1980s, and in libraries since 1999, she said.

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