Automated Library = “intelligent” drop box


Library service and 24 hour convenience without going to the library….bring it on.

BEIJING, April 8 — Locals in Shenzhen, a booming city in southern China, no longer need to visit libraries in person. Instead, they can borrow and return books from a library automation system much like banks’ ATMs.

The ILAS system includes self-checkout and return, security gates, and programming and circulation stations. All forms of media available at the library will be RFID tagged, from books to CDs to videos to library cards.

    The report says the machine can hold more than 400 books, which are encased inside a glass window and circulate on a three-layer conveyor belt to facilitate readers’ selection. The machine is equipped with a box to hold returned books and a computer to help readers search for book information. The round-the-clock service system can even issue library cards. “

Here is the full story and photo: Automated library machine debuts in Shenzhen.

I think the new automated system is brilliant. It won’t replace librarians, that isn’t the point. As described in the details it is a “smart” drop box. It would be refilled with requested items and probably some high demand titles as well. This is about getting the library “transaction point” out into multiple locations where the customer is present. It seems to me it is a way to have multiple “circ desks” all supporting the library function.

From the article: “The city plans to build 30 to 50 automated librarian machines this year in public places including subway, supermarkets and office buildings”.

Let’s get librarians out behind the circ desk and let them actually work with customers. Wouldn’t it be great if we let the machine take care of routine functions like library cards, check out, returns etc.

If energetic, service oriented librarians could spend their day on “high value” interactions with their customers, the library world would be better off.


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One Response to “Automated Library = “intelligent” drop box”

  1. Dan Says:

    Check out the CD/DVD dispensing system made in USA for libraries. Already installed in many libraries across the country, this eliminates the issues of media management and security….plus it houses a complete self-check in it.

    Check it out at: …there are also some cool YouTube videos there of its operation.

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