21st Century Library Innovations and Inspirations!!

Today my Library hit an innovation milestone. After months of negotiation, planning, board convincing, budgeting, and financial paperwork, we took delivery of our brand new media box! (think Redbox meets library card!!). It is the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey and the 35th of its kind in the USA!
After years of pulling DVDs out of drawers or binders or little paper sleeves or fighting with security cases (that you would swear were designed specifically to drive you insane) or whatever other ‘brilliant’ process we contrived, we have reached the 21st Century with our circulation processes for DVDs. This technology will secure, checkout & dispense, accept returns, check-in, and re shelve at least 2000 DVDs titles. It will allow staffing resources to be reallocated to other library needs. It will generate reports based on circulation and browsing history detailing the most and least popular titles in the collection. It will, within librarian-defined parameters, generate lists for regular weeding and automatically dispense titles chosen for removal to the librarian in a batch upon demand.
And best of all, the patron’s are ecstatic! They understand “RedBox-style” and they love interactive and ‘patron-managed’ services!
It was a great day.
(Watch for a future post about the Media Box and the arduous journey to its acquisition!)






In the spirit of 21st Century Library Innovation, this is a snapshot of other library innovations happening all around the Country! Innovation is in the Air!

New York Public Library Opens Pop-Up Outdoor Reading Room and New “Read Everywhere” Campaign

Omaha Public Library Goes Mobile with a Book Bike!

Midland Public Library to promote “Little Free Libraries”!

Portland Public Library in talks with City to Store & Digitize Historic City Records

Aurora Public Library Receives Innovation Award for KMart Branch!




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10 responses to “21st Century Library Innovations and Inspirations!!

  1. Mamie Anthoine Ney

    If only we had the big $$$ for this. I nearly drooled over them at PLA.

    • Kimberly Matthews

      It’s hard not to drool over this exciting innovation! And you are absolutely right Mamie, the Media Box is not cheap. However, if we look at it from a business perspective instead of through our traditional library glasses, the cost is very reasonable and justifiable! How many staff hours are spent in your organization daily, weekly or monthly handling DVD circulation. For us, it was roughly 60-75 hours per week. Even if we calculate using the lowest wage in our organization ($8.80/hr) that is between $27,456-34,320 per year of staff time spent doing nothing but retrieving, circulating, and reshelving DVDs.
      We are leasing (to own) the Media Box for approx $11,000/year and we estimate it will handle 85% of our DVD circulation. If you factor in the remaining 15% and the time spent assisting patrons with the Media Box, you still come out ahead!!
      (It should be said that no staff will be let go, savings will be in not filling at least 2 part-time circulation vacancies for an approximately $16,000 savings in the personnel budget.)
      So in actuality, the library will save money and staff can spend their time on more critical and fulfilling tasks.

      • This is just the sort of prioritizing that makes sense. Staff can focus on providing excellent customer service, relieved of a quotidian function that is enervating and repetitive. It’s a good example of adopting technology that creates opportunities and helps properly align our priorities.

  2. Kat

    Omg! This is really exciting! I’m so happy for you 🙂

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  5. Neal Henshaw

    Kim, i’m a year behind you on this, but we’re considering this for our library. Who’s the vendor, and what has your experience been like? I’d love it if you could drop me a note at nhenshaw@vt.edu

    • Kimberly Matthews

      I am happy to help! I will drop you a note…but in addition I will post here in case others are interested. The vendor that provided the media box and outpost equipment for the Trenton Free Public Library was PIK, Inc.
      They did a lovely job. Projects like this are always difficult and often have unforeseen issues arise. I can say definitively that PIK worked with the library every step of the way to ensure a successful outcome.

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