My name is Christine Ayar, I’m a librarian. I’ve worked in public libraries and as a director in an small academic library. I now work for a vendor called Evanced Solutions. Full disclosure – I’m covering seven products today, one is from my company and I plan to be fair!I’m going to be talking about automated materials vending…machines that store materials until a library card holder checks them out from the machine.
Coming from a company that makes one of these machines and as a librarian, I’ve been really interested in the reaction to these new service options. Today we’ll cover what the options are and why they are a positive addition to the services your library offers.
Libraries are always talking about extending their service model. We think about automated self check out for when patrons are in the library, and we discuss great digital branch design for when patrons aren’t at the library.
But let’s talk about Bob. Bob lives in a rural area that’s underserved because his population is too small for a full library branch. Doesn’t Bob deserve some access to books and materials?
If Bob wants a movie, Bob goes to McDonald’s. What if Bob stops at the local coffee shop to pick up a library book? At last count, 9 libraries across the country had RedBoxes and used them as an alternative revenue generator.
Automated vending is a way to create a flexible solution to meet community needs as demands increase and budgets decrease. We’re in the business of providing resources and automated materials vending helps us to extend our reach in a new way, but putting resources/materials out for the public to use.
If you’re in an urban or suburban area, space may be an issue. You can’t build a full branch, but you know that community members would make use of materials checkout. An automated materials vending option can actually be placed into a building or in front of a building. It’s also a good way to build bridges – place a library materials option in a museum, recreation center or ymca, for instance.
Libraries that are being forced to close branches can offer automated materials vending at a fraction of the cost. When you look at the availability of a library vending machine – 24 hours a day – it’s really a good investment.
Automated vending also helps with theft control – DVDs and video games have to be checked out using a library card. Locking cases are great, but not perfect. No one can come into the library, slip a DVD or CD out a case and then pocket it. You can also save staff time because they don’t have to run back and forth to get the items from storage. Paul Blart, Mall Cop, can’t be everywhere!
At this point, the technology available has really improved and the robots/machines are available in a wide variety of types to fit the needs of libraries. If your library has a need, then there is a vendor with a vending option to help you. The machines and their software packages are becoming increasingly refined. They even dispense tissue now! ;) And keep in mind, I’m only showing you a fraction of the options available to you.
http://www.go-library.com/Go Library – from Contra Costa County Library – Library A – Go – Go Used at train stations $110,000 - $130,000Holds 435-2000 itemsDepending on model, items are delivered to customer in a plastic case guided by an internal robot.Syncs with ILSLibrary system saw an increase in library card sign ups.Branding on these machines is a good way to get corporate sponsorship.
http://www.brodart.com/Brodart Lending Library $20,000 first year, covers shipping, software, first year of support. $2000 every year after The item drops down from the spin wheels. Only Check Outs, no check ins. Hardcover, 180Paperback, 360DVD/Audio, 400
http://www.libramation.comBookBank/MediaBank, price unknownuses “lift” system to pick up books checkouts only uses plastic cases to hold items.From 600–1000 items, depending on media mix Media bank holds up to 3000+ itemsILS Connection
Not currently online – made in conjunction with 3MLibrary Media BoxDVD onlySyncs with ILSHolds 720 - 2,880 items depending on modelTouch screen interfaceWorks with RFID and 2D barcodes
www.mk-sorting-systems.comMK Sorting – LibDispenserIdentification via barcode, RFID, magneticstripe, smart card or biometric patron card.No cases, “hands” item to patronAccepts returnsBase model holds 876 items but more units can be added for additional storage
http://www.evancedsolutions.comThis model holds 500 items but can hold thousands more with addition of modules to machine.Starts at $120,000.Touch screen and handicap accessible. Heavy duty materials make it vandal proof and touch screen interaction makes it easy to use. Items are RFID tagged and syncs with ILS
Uses industrial robot to “hand” materials to patron via a door.Checkout and returns can be done with machine
http://www.d-techdirect.com/24-hour-vending.aspConnects with ILSHolds up to 200 itemsCheck outs and returns
It’s something that’s worth looking at if your library needs to reach out to patrons in a new or different way. If you have the means to try a vending option as a way to extend your service, then I recommend you give it a shot and go a bit wild!
Thanks for attending this event and for listening to my presentation -- have a Happy Halloween.