Books can be timeless -- until they’re in tatters. Library staffers know how challenging it is to keep books and other library media in good shape. It’s not just a matter of poor treatment by book borrowers. The very process of removing and replacing borrowed materials can cause scuffs, scrapes, and other damages.
The lack of a high-quality library book drop is often the culprit. You never want returns falling to the very bottom of the bin. A book lift mechanism (or vertical lift mechanism) can protect the items -- and maybe even the library staff putting them away.
Pull up a chair (quietly!) and we’ll check out how this lift works, the benefits of such a system, and how to identify a well-made lift.
How Does a Book Lift Mechanism Work?
Library book return bins bring the floor of the bin higher. This means that when books or, say, DVDs are dropped in, they don’t have far to fall.
The floor rises via a spring-loaded mechanism with medium-density fiberboard on top. As more items are added, the “floor” pushes further down, making more space for books to be returned but never causing materials to drop several feet.
Benefits of a Vertical Lift Mechanism
Everyone benefits when you use a vertical lift mechanism as part of your library book return system.
The most obvious benefit is that when someone drops books or other media into the bin, there’s less clanking, banging, and scraping on the way down. This can prevent damage to the spine of the book and keep cases for DVDs and other media from popping open.
Run-down books and scratched movies are no way to keep users coming to your library.
Book lifts don’t just benefit patrons -- the staffers who empty the library book return carts will thank you, too.
A lifting mechanism makes it easier for librarians to retrieve the media from the bin without constant bending and straining of the back. Why? They simply don’t have as far to bend.
Using a vertical lift mechanism can keep the job from becoming overly taxing. It may even prevent musculoskeletal injuries that slowly develop over time from poor ergonomics.
Identifying the Right Lift System
A library book return cart is used frequently every day, including after hours. For cash-strapped libraries, investing in a high-quality, long-lasting lift system is essential.
- If your budget allows it, stick to steel construction for better longevity.
- The lift mechanism and the springs inside them are the key to functioning properly. Look for a manufacturer that uses a compression spring with long life cycle expectancy. Many hinge manufacturers can design specifically to the number of cycles you’d like the mechanism to last, although the price will increase as that number goes up.
- Don’t forget to check the load capacity and working height of a potential purchase to make sure it fits the needs of your facility. For reference, our book lift mechanisms are available in load capacities of 50 and 60 lbs. and have maximum working heights of 19.5” and 20.5”.
Other Uses for Vertical Lift Mechanisms
While the concept of a vertical lift mechanism is synonymous with a library or similar setting, the technology has potential in other applications, too.
One example: a garage where heavy, expensive tools could break if dropped on each other. Or, how about a restaurant buffet table, where the table has a circular cutout where clean plates go?
More Reading Material
The best way to attract people to a library is to keep classic books and popular DVDs looking like they did on Day 1. To keep materials in good shape without breaking your long-term budget, use a vertical lift with sturdy materials, a long-lasting spring hinge mechanism, and the ideal capacity.
You can learn more about book lift devices and other ergonomic office products via the button below: