Checking Out & Returning Items at the Library

Learn how to check out and return items using exciting library technology!

Libraries have evolved a long way from dates stamped at the front of your book! Learn about some of the ways new technology makes checking out and returning library materials easier than ever.

Checking Out Items

Whether you are checking out your selections from the library shelves or your holds, our self-check machines are fast and intuitive. Simply have your library card number ready as you prepare to check out.

Start by scanning your library card under the green light, or type the number using the touch screen. Then, enter your PIN, which is the last four digits of the phone number on your account.

You’ll now be able to check out items! Place up to 5 items on the glass table, and watch the titles appear on the screen.

And you’re done! Indicate in the lower right-hand corner your receipt preferences, and you’re all set!

Ever wonder why you can stack multiple items on the self-check machine at the same time? The self-check machines actually recognize library materials without ever seeing their barcode! This is because each item has an RFID tag, which records the barcode and allows both our self-checks and our sorters to easily recognize an item.

Sometimes, items may be too large or otherwise have difficulty being recognized by the self-check machines. Our staff are happy to assist you in checking out your materials!

Currently, the library also has a porch side pick-up service. If you’re coming by the library and do no wish to come into the building to pick up your holds there is a process in place. When you get to the library where your holds are located, call the library and let them know you are there for your holds. A staff person will grab them off the shelf, check them out on your library card and bring them outside. Current services are listed on the library’s website.


Returning Items

Our sorter technology also relies on RFID tags to help our staff put materials back on the shelves in the right places! As you return items, the sorter reads the RFID tag, examines the item record, and determines what collection the item belongs to. Then it drops that item into the appropriate bin. Neat, right?

To return items, press the Start button to begin. The sorter will make a whirring noise as its belts begin to move, and a green light will appear.

Place items one at a time on the belt and watch as the sorter reads your item and then drops it into a bin! Then, once you can see the green light again, place the next item in. Simple as that!

One of our exterior sorters, located on the west side of all library locations

The external sorters are programmed to accept any items, including items it doesn’t recognize — which means that it’s easier to accidentally turn in personal items or school library books. If you turn in an item that isn’t ours, we can help you get it back! Come to the library desk as soon as possible.

STEAM kits and backpacks will not fit into our book drop. See our porch-side specialty return instructions for details on how to return STEAM kits and other special items such as Inter-Library Loans without entering the building, or bring those items to the information desk for processing.


Place and pick up holds using porch pickup at any one of our five locations, or come inside for Grab and Go service. Visit us online at planolibrary.org or our Facebook page for up-to-date information about our current level of service and our programming.

Updated March 9, 2021

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