When I arrived at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City last week, I started seeing cellophane wrapped Ricoh Afico M CP4501 copiers (see above) stored in out of the way corners. Then I started hearing comments from staff discouraging patrons from charging too much money on copy cards because of an imminent change in the way copies and prints are paid for. The word was that this change was coming Tuesday, April 26th.
Today D. Merritt White, Manager, Library Patron Services, was kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes on what must have been one of the most hectic days he has experienced. He acknowledged that his staff didn’t know how late they would be working tonight to make sure the system switchover went smoothly for patrons tomorrow. So what is this new system?
If you have visited the FHL in recent years, you are probably aware how the copier and computer printer release systems have gradually been pieced together. The cost of such services to patrons has been kept very low. It is hard for me to believe that FHL recovers the cost of such services. Scanner stations have been added thus enabling patrons to scan images directly from microfilm and books to their flash drives. White explained that library policy was to allow patrons to save or email images to themselves at no charge but to try to recover the cost of paper if paper copies are created. This policy will continue.
What will change is that 18 all-in-one copiers will replace the current 14 book copiers and 15 print release stations. The new machines will copy or print or scan to flash drives or similar media. They will be operated by a touch screen rather than the current mouse navigation. OCR capacity will be available.
In addition a new Pharos Systems copy card system is being implemented. It will require some of us to be reprogramed. After years of trying to get us to write our names on our copy cards with permanent pen, we will now be asked not do that because the new cards are recyclable. The total amount of money paid for the card can be expended. Then the card is deposited in a recycling bin and another card purchased. Patrons cannot add additional money to their cards as they could in the past. The new cards will be swiped rather than inserted into a machine so it never needs to leave one’s hand. Therefore, it is hoped lost cards will no longer be a big problem. The cards will be available with $2, $5, $10 & $20 values. If you have old copy cards with money remaining on them, it can be transferred to a new card at service desks in the FHL. That policy will continue for the foreseeable future. The FHL does not want any researcher to feel cheated.
This new system has already been in use at other libraries in the Salt Lake City area. This will bring the FHL in step with other Salt Lake City LDS facilities – the Riverton FamilySearch Library and the new Church History Library at Temple Square.
Tomorrow, I’ll report on how the changeover seems to be going on the first day.