ROGERS -- A new service will make it easier for people to check out and return material without going to the Rogers Public Library.
Library officials are having a kiosk installed outside the Rogers Activity Center, 315 W. Olive St. The kiosk will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people to pick up items they have requested from the library.
• Public libraries provide services to their communities through broadband technologies. Broadband enables millions of people with no or inadequate connectivity to have access to employment, learning, health, e-government and other resources through public libraries.
• 37.9 percent of the American population, about 87 million adults, participated in the leisure activity “reading books” in 2010, the latest figure available.
• “Reading books” came in third-highest behind “dining out” (49 percent) and “entertain friends or relatives at home” (38 percent) and just ahead of “barbecuing” (35 percent), “go to beach” (26 percent) and “baking” (25 percent).
Source: The American Library Association
"We think we are the first library in the state to have a kiosk," said Judy Casey, library director.
Library patrons can request a book, movie, audio book or other library material online or by calling the library. The item will be delivered to the kiosk and placed in one of the 23 locked boxes, Casey said.
"To open the box and retrieve the material, the patron swipes their library card. The box will open only for that patron's card," Casey said.
"The great thing about the kiosk is it's available to the patron 24 hours a day, making it more convenient for our patrons to check out material on their schedule, not the library's schedule," Casey said.
The material also can be returned to the kiosk, Casey said.
The idea for the kiosk, and where to place it, came from a study completed for the library's board.
"We had a study done about two years ago. We discovered people living on the east side of town had the greatest need for the service," Casey said.
The study revealed the east side of Rogers had more single parent families, that many families only had one car and there was a concentration of homes where both parents work, library officials said.
Richard Fisher, who lives on the east side of the city, said the kiosk sounds like a great idea.
"It would be very handy for me," Fisher said Monday as he searched for an audio book at the library. "I think it would benefit a lot of people who can't always get to the library. I'll probably use the kiosk once it's installed."
"It sounds pretty cool," said Ray Langham, who works near Rogers Activity Center.
"I work the 3 p.m. to midnight shift. It would be convenient for me to pick up a book after I get off work. It's a good outreach service for the library and a useful tool for residents," Langham said.
If the kiosk is successful at the Activity Center, Casey said library officials hope to install more units in other parts of the city. The kiosk costs $18,484 and should be ready for use in August.
Rogers is the first city to have a library kiosk, according to the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock.
"I am familiar with the kiosk idea, but I don't think there is a library in Arkansas that has actually installed a system," said Carol Coffey, head of library resources and digital services for the system.
Public libraries in Arkansas and the rest of the nation are feeling a financial pinch and are looking for ways to expand services with the money available, Coffey said.
"A kiosk is much less expensive to build than a branch library that has to have its own material, staff, building and utilities, which make a kiosk very attractive and a good way to expand library services," she said.NW News on 07/31/2014