Chicago Suburb Considers 'Redbox for Readers'
Libraries in areas like LaGrange, Ill., are considering implementing self-service kiosks, potentially making media available to patrons, even after hours.
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.