Case Story: Santa Barbara Public Library

Santa Barbara Public Library boosted customer service with automation

This was one of the easiest installments of equipment ever in this library, thanks to the userfriendly system, thorough training and excellent service by Lyngsoe Systems.”

Kristina Hernandez, Senior Librarian, Santa Barbara Public Library

About the library

Located in the sunny tourist hotspot Santa Barbara in Southern California, Santa Barbara Public Library is a bustling downtown library with a lot of traffic from the city’s own residents as well as from tourists. Processing over 1 million items per year, the library manages 6 branch libraries and is a member of the Black Gold Cooperative Library System, a public library cooperative serving six public library jurisdictions on the Central Coast of California.

The challenge​

Library needed to elevate its efficiency to run in a more cost-effective way

Managing an annual circulation of over 1 million items, Santa Barbara Public Library needed to elevate its efficiency to run in a more cost-effective way, and dedicate more of the staff time to serving the patrons through teaching, guiding, programming, and outreach. They also wished to empower their multilingual audience to become more self-reliant in managing transactions with the library.


The solution

Raised efficiency through sorting systems and self-service kiosks

California’s Santa Barbara Public Library took patron service to a new level by installing the Lyngsoe Automated Material Handling (AMH) system. The AMH reduced the turnaround time, enabled patrons to be more self-directed, and freed up staff time for direct patron outreach. 

The library chose to raise their efficiency through library automation. They opted for the Lyngsoe Systems Sort Mate™ 2000 AMH solution. The installation was accompanied by training enabling employees to operate the system. 

The system provides an RFID-based and Barcode scanning automatic sorting automation, relieving the staff of manual sorting, and reducing human error. As items are checked in, the system reads the RFID tags or item barcode, handling theft protection in a seamless and efficient way.

Self-service kiosks with multilingual screen guidance enable patrons to easily return materials and generate receipts. Santa Barbara Public Library also opted for on-going service by Lyngsoe Systems, and today enjoy quality support in all matters related to the AMH.



Staff is relieved of manual work and freed up for more meaningful tasks

  • Improved customer service through more personal interactions with staff, a wider choice of available materials, and faster service.
  • Enhanced patron experience, including the joy of using the self-service options and watching the system in operation.
  • Self-service options are available in several languages, providing excellent service for the library’s multi-lingual audience.
  • The staff is relieved of manual work and freed up for more meaningful tasks in the public area and help patrons out in the community.
  • Automatized functions serve to cut down on human error and protect against theft.


The results

Santa Barbara public library enhanced patron experience

The AMH solution has helped the library achieve its goal of returning items to the shelves quickly. Most items are returned the same day, including the Black Gold Cooperative transit items. The automation relieves staff of manual work and they are now able to spend more time in the public area, guiding patrons directly. Due to the enhanced efficiency, patrons now enjoy a wider choice of materials and items on hold are made available faster. The sorter itself has become a great patron attraction, and customers enjoy being more self-directed. In the self-return kiosks, visitors can choose to display on-screen guidance in Spanish and to receive an e-mail receipt.