Library Customers Experience Checkout Upgrades

Get your library card ready! Introducing three major improvements to checking out at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library:

  1. Speed. Checking out is much more streamlined. No more long lines
  2. Convenience. Check-out kiosks located where you are in the building
  3. Privacy. A more discreet way of checking out and managing your account
Diane checks out using the new system.

Diane checks out using the new system.

Look for 11 new, blue-lighted checkout kiosks throughout the library. The new checkout system is powered by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a proven technology.

“RFID is for organizations like FedEx, Walmart and libraries all over the world that must manage and track millions of items,” said Library CEO Gina Millsap. “The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library checks out over 2.3 million items per year. At any given time, we have to know where all those books are. RFID helps us do that and more importantly, makes check out a breeze for library customers.”

RFID enables you to place your stack of library materials, including movies and music, in the cubby of a kiosk and all the items check out at once. You can also renew items (that aren’t requested by someone else) and pay fees with cash or credit/debit card at the checkout kiosks. Spanish and English languages are available too.

Library cards will not change, but the new system will require a PIN to check out. This is a great opportunity to update your PIN. Change your PIN online in your account or call the library at 785-580-4400 and we can help you.

Fast Facts

Where to find the new checkouts: 2 in New Books, Movies and Music; 1 in the Holds Pick-up room; 2 in the Kids Library; and 6 in the Check-out Lobby.

Library staff will monitor the checkout kiosks and help any customers who require it. Staff previously stationed at the checkout desk will be deployed throughout the library and the community – meaning more librarians where you need them.

The library Board of Trustees approved this $354,196 project.

During the five days of closure, about 250 employees and volunteers tagged books, DVDs, games, CDs and other items.

Bibliotheca out of Norcross, Ga. was awarded the bid to outfit the library with RFID, including 11 checkout kiosks, scanner pads and security gates.


Library hours: Mon.–Fri. 9am to 9pm, Sat. 9am to 6pm, and Sun. 12pm to 9pm.      

A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.

  • Debra Rose Childers

    Just curious, but will the RFID tags make it possible to find books that the computer says are checked in but aren’t in the correct place on the shelf?

    • Paul Brennan

      Good question, Debra. The answer is not really, as least not yet. Theoretically, you could use an RFID scanner to quickly read all the tags and find items in the wrong location(s). Unfortunately, hand-held scanners that work the way we’d need them to work to do this particular job don’t really exist yet. But, we’re keeping abreast of changes in the technology and if a functional device is developed we’ll definitely be interested in taking advantage of it. Thanks for the question!