The Daily Tarheel reports that the OCPL has installed a $180,000 library kiosk near the Cedar Grove Community Center. Larger than the average ATM, the kiosk offers 24/7 access to more than 250 books and DVDs.
The idea for the kiosk came after Library Director Lucinda Munger saw a prototype of the machine at a library conference. She still wanted to offer library services to the area after a small library branch in Cedar Grove was closed due to limited usage and the need for building repairs.
“We’re able to get real time data about what materials are being checked out the most, and we can tweak it as we go along,” Munger told the Daily Tarheel. “If we see that there is a collection that has really taken off out there, we can put more of it in the station and if a collection is doing bad, we can reduce those numbers and put in something more popular.”
Jill Wagy, the systems manager for the Orange County Public Library system, described the collection housed inside the library station as a “lucky day” collection due to the fluctuation in inventory. “You can’t see (the inventory) in our online catalogue, you have to go up there and search,” Wagy said. “We have the bestsellers and the top movies, so the idea is when you come up and it’s sitting there, it’s your lucky day.”
Other libraries, including one in Toronto, have installed similar machines. I have likened them to a better buggy whip in the era of cars, and I stick by that opinion.
It would be more cost-effective to make an investment in a digital kiosk which let you download ebooks. Not only would it have a lower installation cost, the operating cost would only be a fraction of the $40,000 the OCPL is spending on their newest branch.