|Halifax Public Libraries is looking at purchasing vending machines |
that distribute books, like this one in Porterville, Calif.
July 29, 2017
People who like the feel of a real book and prefer to borrow it, but can never seem to get to the library when it's open may soon be able to get their hands on the next bestseller using a vending machine.
Halifax Public Libraries issued a tender Friday requesting bids from manufacturers or distributors for machines that can dispense books. Each should be able to hold 100 to 150 titles and be able to scan a library card.
Debbie LeBel, the director of access for Halifax Public Libraries, said the idea is to give library cardholders another convenient way to check out material.
"This is just something that a lot of libraries are doing because it is an opportunity that technology provides us with," she said.
|Debbie LeBel with Halifax Public Libraries says the machines |
wouldn't replace library staff. (Submitted by Halifax Public Libraries)
Those machines are used by about 600 people who check out almost 10,000 titles a year.
Alexandra Yarrow, the Ottawa Public Library's manager of alternative services, said library patrons who use the centre for dance classes or other city-run programs for their children appreciate the convenience of the machines.
"Some of those people might visit a branch and some might not, so for us, it's a net win in that sense," she said.
"We're reaching an audience that otherwise may or may not visit one of our locations."
|Alexandra Yarrow with the Ottawa Public Library says some |
of the people who use the machines are people that wouldn't
otherwise go to libraries. (Submitted by Ottawa Public Libr
"I think they're actually kinda interesting because they provide you with convenience ... These machines are going to be in a place you certainly wouldn't expect to see a library service," said LeBel, who has test driven a few models at trade shows.
Where would the machines go?
She said officials haven't decided where to put the machines, but it's likely Halifax would follow the lead of other cities that have them.
"Other libraries have put them in places like transit terminals or in hockey rinks or something like that," said Lebel.
Ottawa Public Library vending machines
These are the two library vending machines used by the Ottawa Public Library. (Submitted by Ottawa Public Library)
"Sometimes they are in communities that have a branch and sometimes they are in areas that are further removed from an existing branch. The options are limitless."
LeBel said the machines wouldn't cause any job losses and would simply provide an additional service.
Free museum passes?
The machines in Ottawa dispense more than just books and have sparked some interesting partnerships.
"We also stock museum passes in the machines, so we have partnerships with some of the big museums in the City of Ottawa that provide free family passes," said Yarrow.
"Those go like hotcakes."
Although Ottawa hasn't expanded its collection of book vending machines beyond the original two, Halifax would like to start with one or two and then have five by the third year.