Category Archives: self-checkout

Webster Library – Main staircase entrance open

Webster Library’s main staircase has reopened.

With this reopening, entrance to the Webster Library will return to its permanent state. Students will enter the library from the main staircase on the first floor of LB to the second floor of LB, where the permanent entrance is located.

Once inside the Webster Library on the second floor of LB, students can take internal Library stairs or elevators to the third and fifth floors.

This will reduce the crowding of the elevator  and the fire escape stairways will no longer be needed.

Webster Library’s 4th floor and the west side of the third floor are currently closed in order to complete renovations. The Webster Library Transformation will be complete at the end of 2017.

When visitors enter Webster Library from the main staircase, they will be greeted immediately by the new service area for Questions? Ask Us! / Reference desk on the second floor of LB.

The Loans & Returns desk, self-checkout machines and the Course Reserves room are all also located on the second floor of Webster Library.

A brand new service will be launched on February 22: the Technology Sandbox on the second floor of Webster Library. It’s a place for the Concordia community to try out emerging technologies and cutting-edge equipment.   Register today for a workshop.

For more information about the new spaces at Webster Library, please see our website:

Public holds

You wrote:

Dear Concordia Library,

I would like to comment on the Public Hold Shelf system that was put in place at the end of the summer. Since its inception, books have gone missing.

Specifically, I can cite 3 books which I had checked out, which were recalled by another user, and then which subsequently, upon my returning them to the library as required, had gone “missing” when I later tried to access them through the library. These books are still listed as “missing” on the library database – and who knows when or if they will turn up.

When this happens once, it’s unfortunate. But when it happens 3 times to 3 related texts, it makes me think that others are abusing the public hold shelf for their own gain or for mischief.

Further, the “code” on the books is not exactly anonymous (again, allowing books/users to be targeted).  A random letter/number would be a better option. Finally, the elastic bands and paper is, while perhaps an easy option for library staff, also an embarrassing solution in this day and age.

While I understand that some users prefer the convenience of having the holds accessible, I believe that you could give users a preference of having their book held publicly or having it held behind the desk.  ILL books are already held behind the desk, why can’t Concordia books also be, like they were previously?

Please do something about public holds!

Thank you for sending us comments about this pilot project.

I believe that the main objectives of this service are to encourage students to use the holds option and to not have to wait in lengthy line-ups to pick up the items once they are ready for them. You mention that you know of three books that went missing after they were recalled by another user. Unfortunately, library books go missing for a variety of reasons and in these three cases, we cannot assume that it is because of the public holds shelf.

In coming up with the letter-number code, we were trying to come up with a compromise between using a user-friendly code and a strictly anonymous one. Our goal is to encourage students to use the system and if the code is difficult to remember, that may discourage them. Using elastics and paper is considered to be the simplest and most effective identifying method available.

It would be nice to give students the choice between mediated or self-service. Unfortunately, a dual system would be too cumbersome to manage.

Perhaps in the future, with building renovations, we may be able to keep these books in a seperate room, like the Webster Reserves Room, with a gate. This would allow for self-service and yet provide some level of security, so that no one could pull something off and walk off with it without checking it out.

We appreciate any feedback about this and all our services.

No PIN required for self-checkout machines

You wrote:

The removal of the passwords on the self-check-out is dangerous.

I have on two occasions found student ID cards. I gave them to security, but what if the policy had been in place, and someone else had found the cards?

Can you really say the student is responsible for stolen books on their card if you do this?

When a credit card is stolen the card company assumes the cost of the theft, is the library willing to do this?


I’m shocked to see that password is no longer required to borrow books using the self check-out machines. I would like the library to tell me what the policy will be regarding books checked out on a card that was lost or stolen. I understand that, in any case, students must always report a stolen ID card as soon as they notice the card is missing, but noticing that the card is missing is not instantaneous. I can honestly think of no other instances where a card can be used by a complete stranger like this. A debit card requires a pin, and a credit card holder is not liable for purchases made on a stolen card, even if these purchases were made before the card was reported stolen.

Everyone agrees that security must be improved with these kinds of devices, so what is the reasoning behind this unannounced change? And will students be held responsible for books “borrowed” on a stolen card? Will there be a maximum amount of money one must pay?

Thank you for your comments and questions. On March 19th, the Libraries announced that a PIN would no longer be required when using a library self-check machine. This is one of those tricky situations where the need for simplicity is measured against the need for security.

It is true that the present system of not requiring a PIN at the self-checkout machines is not as secure as it was in the past. However, abuse of the system can only happen at the self-checkout machines. Nowhere else. Therefore, if a student reports that items were checked out on his/her record without his/her knowledge, we can tell what terminal they were checked out from. If the item was loaned out at a self-checkout machine, staff will take this information into account when deciding how to handle lost book charges, etc.

So, since –

  • there is a limited number of places where a problem can occur
  • similar systems have been in place in other universities for over ten years
  • we want to make it easier for students to use the self-checkout service, especially after regular service hours

PINs are no longer required for self-checkout. That said, if students notice that they have lost their id cards, they should report it asap.

PIN for the self-checkout machines

You wrote:

I have never been so frustrated in my life trying to get a PIN to take out some library books. There is no link provided on the machine, and when I go to the Clues homepage, you don’t even put the proper link to set up a password for the automatic machine set up at the entrance of the Webster Library. Useless.

I am so sorry that you had such a frustrating experience.  You are correct in that there is no link on the self-checkout machine.  Our Systems people will look into it and see if it would be possible.  Also, the help screens that appear on the self-checkout screens need to be updated.

However, I just want to clarify that the “password” or PIN for the self-checkout machines is, in fact, the same PIN you use for MyCLUES.  You set this up by clicking on the *login to myclues* button. Login to MyCLUES

Complete instructions are at: .

I hope that this helps and that you will be able to use the self-checkout machines in the future.

Self-checkout machines, where are you?

Two of you recently wrote about the self-checkout machines. Here are excerpts:

I am really disappointed to see the self-checkout computers moved away from the entrance. I use them all the time, as opposed to the circulation desk which I only go to if I have to pick up ILL books, etc. It really defeats the purpose of quick check-out if they are not strategically located very close to the exit…..

….and another note from the summer:

Neither self-check-out machine has worked for weeks now (one doesn’t react when we touch the screen, the other won’t read the card). It isn’t the first time I notice this happening, and yet no one seems to do anything about it…

Thanks to both of you for writing about the self-checkout machines at Webster library. Though it may not exactly look that way at the moment, both self-checkout machines are currently in working order, and they do actually belong closer to the exit of the library.

We did have some problems with one of the self-checkout machines earlier in the summer, but that has been repaired.  Note that sometimes it can seem as if the screen of one or the other of the machines is not reacting, when it is actually in sleep mode. Wait a few minutes after you enter your card and the screen should ‘wake up’. 

Recently, due to our carpet installation project in the library entrance, we had to move both machines away from their usual location and to the area near the 2nd floor stairs on the Bishop side of the library.  This is a temporary location only, and one of the machines is marked “out of order” as there is only enough electrical capacity to accommodate one.

The two self-checkout machines are now set to be reinstalled near the exit, though this time closer to the Circulation Desk.  The move unfortunately entails some rewiring work, but we are aiming to have both machines permanently located and in full working order by about two weeks from now.  Thanks in advance for your patience, and keep letting us know what you think.