GoLibrary looks like a vending machine, but it holds about 400 books instead of pop and snacks (though I’d put my order in for Bugles if they end up having the space).
Instead of putting cash into a slot in the machine, users will wave their library card in front of a card reader, select their book from a touchscreen list and a mechanical arm will grab their book and vend it out the front of the machine. The books can be returned at the kiosk too.
“It all sounds like a lot of fun,” Mayor Beverly Johnson said.
The Alameda Free Library’s Adult Services Supervisor, Annemarie Meyer, said the $150,000 machines are typically put in places where there’s a lot of foot traffic but no library nearby. They’re used in Europe and are starting to crop up here in California. Meyer said Contra Costa County’s library system has three , which they’ve placed at two BART stations and a shopping center. Yuba County also has one, and other city libraries are working on buying the kiosks.
“Since funding for new library construction doesn’t seem to be imminent, this is the next best thing,” Library Director Jane Chisaki said.
Meyer said the library is a few months off of ordering a machine; once ordered, it takes about six months for them to be built and shipped.
The primary funding source for the machine would come from the Development Services Department’s federal Community Development Block Grant.