The early 1990s saw the emergence of automated self‐service issue units in the UK. Since then we have seen the introduction of second and third generation systems, the launch of self‐return facilities and their adoption for use in both public and academic libraries. This paper re‐examines the position of self‐issue and return towards the end of the decade and century based on the literature and research conducted by Loughborough University. It describes the main self‐issue/return systems available, lists the benefits and opportunities of implementing them and discusses considerations such as objectives, costs, security, location of equipment, functionality and design of systems, and the effect self‐issue/return has on users and staff.
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