Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: email@example.com
Across the country, many libraries have reduced their hours and staff. To fill any service gaps, some enterprising libraries are turning to self-serve kiosks, allowing patrons to check out and renew books after hours and or without staff. According to a 2011 American Library Association (ALA) survey of about 1,600 library systems, 90 systems reported having a self-serve kiosk and 20 reported plans to put install such a machine. In the ALA survey, La Grange, Ill., had reported no plans for self-service kiosks, but a recent Chicago Tribune article reports that the system is now considering them. Such mini-libraries, which the newspaper describes as "Redboxes for readers," could cost as much as $150,000 depending on what sort of media it dispenses, an official said. La Grange's library system is surveying residents to determine if there is interest in self-service kiosks. A library in nearby Elgin, Ill. already has a DVD dispenser, the newspaper reports.
Ryan Holeywell and Brian Peteritas contributed reporting.