card goes in, book comes out.

I’m always interested in news about developing kiosk/remote/ library service models – particularly ones that seem like they will actually work – so I was happy to hear that a Contra Costa County Library BART station book lending machine is now operational.

The program is known as Library-a-Go-Go, and you can read a press release or learn more about the service while marveling at CCCL’s extremely good idea. According to a SeattlePI blog post on the subject, the kiosks are built by a Swedish firm Distec and weigh in at $100k apiece.

It seems like every time I’m in an airport I see another multimedia product being sold or circulated from vending machines, which makes a lot of sense and is a trend libraries can take lessons from. On a more localized scale, these sort of stations could provide a variety of convenient remote/extended library service options that extend way beyond simple circulation. CCCL’s model of setting up shop in mass transit locations and shopping centers sounds like just the ticket, and among other things provides an excellent means of marketing library services to untold numbers of passers-by. The Distec site also shows an example of the ‘Bokomaten’ machine installed on the outside of a library building, ATM-style:

Although I sort of doubt it, I’m wondering if the book dispenser has any other information help options built in – I don’t see a keyboard, but wouldn’t it be rad to be able to take this service and extend it to a one-stop library kiosk that users could fully interact with, complete with useful links, account information, and access to live library staff? At $100,000 grand it seems to me like each kiosk should have all the bells/whistles imaginable built in. Someday, someday.

Story via AL Direct.

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