The nation's first public lending book program, Library A-Go-Go, is scheduled for implementation at the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station on May 29. The second dispenser is scheduled to be installed some time this summer at the Sandy Cove Shopping Center in Discovery Bay.
We're very excited about the machines, said Cathy Sanford, deputy county librarian. It's very cutting edge and we are thrilled to be involved.
Popular in Europe, particularly in Scandinavian countries, the equipment looks and operates in much the same way as a typical ATM machine. Customers who use the device insert their library card and select their materials from a menu. Once an item is chosen, it dispenses the book in a box. When the reader is ready to return the book, it's put back into the box and placed into the slot, like a bank deposit.
The machine gives you a receipt both when you check out the book and when you return it, said Sanford. And anyone with a Contra Costa County library card can use it.
The purpose of the mechanized lending library is to provide reading services to isolated or remote areas of the county such as Discovery Bay, Knightsen and Bethel Island, which have little or no access to library services without building another library.
The implementation of the service at area BART stations allows riders access to a book for their commute and provides easy access to area residents. Reading is so important for building strong societies, said Supervisor Mary Piepho. Through these machines, we'll make it easy to borrow books, whether you are a commuter on BART or a parent checking out children's books at a machine here in Discovery Bay.
The county plans to install four of the machines over the next few months at the Pittsburg/Bay Point and Discovery Bay locations, as well as one at the BART station in Pleasant Hill and one more as-yet-to-be-determined location.
At a cost of $100,000 apiece, the book lending machines are being paid for through a combination of California state library grants and community redevelopment agencies.
The BART location machines will hold up to 400 books, said Sanford, while the Discovery Bay dispenser will hold fewer at 270 books.
The reason that the Discovery Bay machine is projected for less books is because we are programming this site for more family-oriented items, which mean picture books, said Sanford. And if you have ever seen picture books, you know they are all different sizes and shapes and they take up more room. That's the reason for there being less (books).