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Innovation for the Modern Library

Lending Library’s Vending Machine Extending Service In Litchfield

This post taken from the Wolcott Newspaper.

Lending library’s vending machine extending service in Litchfield

BY JOHN MCKENNA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN LITCHFIELD

Residents of Bantam no longer have to visit Oliver Wolcott Library to grab a book, an audio book, or a DVD.

Now they can do it at Bantam’s Big Value Supermarket.

The library, using two grants totaling $36,500, has installed a vending machine anyone with a library card can use to check out materials. Known as the OWL Box, it’s the first machine of its kind in the state, according to Oliver Wolcott Library’s director, Anne Marie White.

“We wanted to reach out to the people in Bantam and others in that area who can’t always get to the center of town,” White said. “Providing greater access to our materials is a goal, and we thought Big Value would be an ideal place to do it.” From the library in Litchfield to the store in Bantam is about 3.5 miles.

The machine, which is roughly the same size as a food or soda vending machine, is stationed at the entrance to the store. It is full of materials library card holders can check out by inserting their library card. Card holders from any library in the state can use the machine.

Mary Tetreault of Bantam has already dipped into the OWL Box and finds it convenient and easy to use.

“If I need something, it’s a lot easier to go there than into Litchfield,” Tetreault said. “I’m sure I’ll use it often.”

The machine has gone over well with Bantam’s senior citizens, Tetreault said. Big Value is close to Bantam’s two senior citizen housing communities and is a pick-up and drop-off point for the town’s senior citizen bus.

Grants of $25,000 from the Praxair Foundation and $11,500 from the Seherr-Thoss Foundation of Litchfield funded the purchase of the machine. Its contents are updated several times a week, White said.

The machine extends the library’s reach to Bantam at no cost to the town, which funds about half of the library’s annual budget.

“We’re offering more without adding staff and overhead,” White said.