Changing demographics and difficulty securing new funds for new libraries, The Pioneer Library System in Norman, Oklahoma decided to to use technology to meet its patrons needs.
So last week, it opened the first 24-hour library vending machine in the United States. Built by EnvisionWare, this fully automated machine will be able to to dispense more than 400 pieces of media (books/DVDs/audiobooks) and store more than 1000 returned items.
This is the first of two machines that the library system will install in Norman, both in areas without nearby branch libraries.
Automated library machines like this one have become popular in China, especially in smaller cities in towns without branch libraries.
This particular model costs $200,000, which includes a touchscreen terminal that patrons use to check materials in and out. The machine can also serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot, with either open or password-protected internet access. Patrons can also pick up holds and pay fines with credit cards.
Other library systems are in the process of deploying these machines, with Milwaukee scheduled to be the next city to have one in operation by the end of the year.
You can see the machine in action in the below manufacturer’s video.
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