A WIB Smart Locker at the service of the library of the Milan campus of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

As we have seen in the section of our website dedicated to the contexts of use of Smart Lockers, these solutions lend themselves to being used in many situations making various processes more agile, secure and immediate.

One of the environments in which Smart Lockers can play a decisive role are libraries, characterized by the constant collection / return of books, volumes and materials by hundreds and – sometimes – thousands of users.

Precisely with the aim of improving the management of book lending, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore has chosen a WIB Smart Locker to offer a better service to the student population of its Milan campus.

The realization of this project was possible thanks to the collaboration with our partner ISNG, an expert in library automation through RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and EM (electromagnetic) technology.

In addition, we collaborated with the library of Milan’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and its partner Mediatech, who prepared the API necessary for the integration of the device with the book reservation system in use in the online catalog.

The Smart Locker has a total of 82 cells and has been designed to meet the needs of the library, through cells of smaller size than the standard (each cell can accommodate 3 medium-sized books).

In addition to an integrated badge reader (for university badges) and QR code/bar scanner, the Smart Locker has an integrated thermal printer for delivering paper receipts (if desired by the student) and an uninterruptible power supply (battery) that allows the system to continue to operate even in the event of a power outage.

Students can reserve the books they need directly from the library’s online catalog (web-app): at 5:30 p.m. each day they receive an email about the availability of the requested books which, as a rule, are deposited in the Locker on the same day of the reservation (if the reservation is made in the morning) or the following day (if the reservation is made in the afternoon).

When booking through the web app, students can also select other or select options related to accessibility (cell location), for example.

When the book is available at the Locker, it can be picked up using the QR code or alphanumeric (backup) pickup code that is emailed to the student when booking online.

To use the Smart Locker, library staff simply scan their badge and then decide what operation to perform by choosing the desired alternative from the locker’s touch screen: in addition to depositing/collecting books, administrators also have the option of locking one or more cells for technical or administrative reasons.

Great care has been taken with the graphical interface to ensure the best possible user experience for both library staff and students.

Thanks to the use of the Smart Locker – which is perfectly suited to the needs of the library in terms of both hardware and software – it was possible to optimize the time for students and staff, allowing to extend the service hours without the use of additional dedicated staff and using a solution integrated with the management system already in use in the library.

Cattolica’s students have really appreciated the possibility to reserve books and pick them up from the Smart Locker at their preferred time: the adoption of this tool has really made a difference in the relationship with users.

Andrea Sinigaglia, Project Manager and Technical Director at ISNG, explains that “for years we have been working in the field of library automation with RFID technology, bringing throughout Italy solutions that simplify life for staff and users: our collaboration with WIB stems from the desire to offer to library patrons and administrators an innovative, accessible and secure service with the Smart Locker as an integral part. The union between our technology and that of WIB – with whom we immediately found a remarkable understanding that has allowed us to work very well together – has allowed us to create a unique service that allows users and administrators to manage the delivery and collection of books in an optimized manner, avoiding queues and extending service hours“.

The Università Cattolica is not the first nationally and internationally renowned university with which we have the pleasure of working: Compass Group has also chosen a WIB Food Locker (in collaboration with our partner Ricoh) for the canteen of the Politecnico di Milano.

We talked about it here!