Central Library : Book Handling System

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Central Library

Book Handling System

State-of-the-art technology has changed the way books and other materials are checked in, sorted and readied for re-shelving at the Central Library. Most of the computer-controlled Tech Logic system isn't visible to Library visitors, but patrons benefit in a number of ways.


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How it works

Materials return area Materials return area

When a book, CD or other item is returned to the Central Library, it drops onto an automated conveyor system that carries materials through the ceiling to a sorting area near the loading dock. The book is actually checked back in to the Library's circulation system by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology - an RFID antenna detects an RFID chip on the returned book.


Once the item is checked in, a machine orients it for its next destination:


Materials handling system Materials handling system


  • If it will stay at the Central Library or is a hold that will be picked up at the Central Library, it is routed to one of 12 machines that place items on book carts for re-shelving.
  • If it is bound for one of the branch libraries, it is routed to a series of motorized bins for truck delivery to the branch locations. These bins have movable floors that raise or lower as items are added or removed. This feature prevents staff from having to bend and reach deep into the bin to remove items from the bottom.


The Tech Logic system is able to process an average of 1,400 items per hour. The system also is used to handle materials returned to branch libraries. They are trucked to the Central Library, where they are checked in, sorted and re-routed.


Materials handling system Materials handling system


What it means to you

  • The automated handling system reduces the time it takes to get books and other materials back in circulation after they've been returned.
  • For those who use self check-out, the Tech Logic system is quicker, allowing several items to be checked out at once
  • The Tech Logic system can accommodate almost all Library materials that are available for check-out.
Safe Place

Central Library
1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104



10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 6 pm


10 am - 6 pm


Noon - 6 pm

Regional Manager:
Karen Spiel

Book Drop Hours


  • Monday - Friday
    6 am - 10 pm
  • Saturday - Sunday
    9:30 am - 6 pm

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