Several libraries around the U.S. have been installing ‘book kiosks’ for their patrons. These kiosks give holders of library cards 24-hour access to ebooks, DVDs and other digital materials, much like an ATM banking machine.
With many local libraries facing funding cuts, the purchase of a kiosk allows them to have a small ‘branch’ library in communities where there would otherwise be no services. The book kiosks cost approximately $180,000 and can hold more than 250 items.
The inventory can be adjusted to fit the community it is serving. Libraries can offer bestsellers, children’s books and even foreign language editions. The cost is small in comparison to operating a branch library, and materials can be returned to the kiosk.
These kiosks are also being installed near public transport systems, schools and anyone with a library card and a digital device can download books.
There are also several libraries that are using actually ‘vending’ type kiosks where you can use your library card to request a book and the machine ‘dispenses’ the book. Patrons must then return the book to the kiosk. The digital option, according to library sources, is much more cost effective and allows libraries to offer a wider variety of titles.
Additional details can be found at Orange Country Library webpage.