November 6, 2013

Oklahoma to install library vending machines in under-served areas


A library vending machine in action

A library system in Oklahoma has announced plans for a vending machine that will be good news for local night owls/bookworms. Soon, a cool new innovation, the library vending machine, will hit the streets, giving people access to a selection of books any time they want.

Book Riot‘s Jeff O’Neal writes that the Pioneer Library System in Norman, OK has installed the first 24-hour automated library in the country. Located at the Irving Recreation Center, the machine lets library patrons scan their cards and select the book they want, and return it to the same spot. It’s the first of two such planned machines, both of which are being placed in areas that don’t have a branch nearby.

Each automated library has the space to hold more than 400 books, DVDs, and audiobooks in the slots available for checkout, and bins to store 1,000 returned items. The model that Norman is using costs $200,000 and also allows patrons to pick up books on hold and pay their fines with a credit card. It’s manufactured by EnvisionWare, which posted this video to demonstrate how it works:

Library vending machines like this have found success in China, but Oklahoma’s is the first in the US — and possibly the start of a new trend, with Milwaukee next on the list to install them by the end of the year.


Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.