Library 101 – How to Return an Item

There are many ways that you can return an item to us. During the library’s open hours, you can step inside and walk straight to our book return, which is actually built into our wall. You do not have to wait in line at any of the desks to return your items. You will see a sign above the book return that lists the instructions for how to deposit your item.

Book return wall at Canyon Country Library

Book return wall at Canyon Country Library

These instructions are important because they help make sure that your items are checked back in immediately. As long as the light is green, you may deposit one item. That item will pass right through our scanner. The scanner reads an RFID sticker that hides inside every item. These stickers hold all the information about the item that you just returned. Every sticker is programmed specifically for that one item.


RFID tag from the back of a picture book

RFID tag from the back of a picture book

If the scanner reads the sticker correctly, it will check the item back in and deposit it into the correct bin. This is the fun part to watch. We have cameras stationed on the conveyor belt, and kids (and adults) can watch the books drop into their bins after they’ve been checked in. Each of these bins corresponds with a different section of the library. This is our first step toward sorting the items so they can be quickly put back on the shelf for someone else to check out. You can return any item through our book return. This includes magazines, DVD’s, CD’s, audiobooks, playaways, and kits in bags.

If you notice your item does not get separated into a bin but, rather, ends up dropping at the end of the conveyor belt, don’t be dismayed. This means your item was probably requested by another customer, belongs to another library, or has a slight problem with its’ RFID tag. All items that make it to the end of the line are scanned by hand thanks to a library employee.

If the library is closed or if you are in a hurry, you can always return all items to the outside boxes. We call them book drops. All types of items can be returned in the outside book drops. Some items have old stickers that say not to drop them off outside. You can ignore those stickers and drop it in anyway. We will not charge you. Three times a day, library employees go outside and empty the book drops.

If you drop something off late at night, the library will bring it inside the next morning. We then check those items in as if they came in the day before so you will still be credited as dropping off your item the day before. If you drop something off on a holiday when the library is closed, we will check it in the next morning and account for the day that we were not open.

We have thousands of items returned to us every day, and we try our best to make it as streamlined as possible so that we can prepare those items to be checked out once again. If you ever have a concern about an item you returned, please come speak to us. If you noticed an item was previously damaged once you got home, please let us know. Our staff may assume you did the damage when we catch it on return so please make sure you let us know that the damage was already there. Also, we may miss the damage, such as a DVD that keeps skipping or a DVD that is missing, unless someone tells us. Letting us know about these problems helps us keep damaged items off the shelf and gives the item a chance to get repaired.


Miss Angie

I am a children's librarian at SCPL's Canyon Country Library. My favorite things are funny books, ice cream, and the Matterhorn at Disneyland.

Comments are closed.