Friday, August 19, 2005

Book Vending Machines

In the name of 24/7 library service, I present this piece from today's It seems that a publisher in France has developed machinery to sell books around the clock to literature-starved Parisians. Of course here in the US, we just slip down to the all-night supermarket or, if you happen to live in Arlen, Texas, the Megalomart, for that post-midnight classic. In France, where the stores are generally open on a human schedule, that's not an option.

But couldn't libraries do something like this? Maybe it would be just a small collection of your popular materials, like bestsellers, DVDs, and CDs perhaps. Go online, order up what you want from this limited collection, a robot goes out to the shelf, retrieves the item, places it in a lock box, you use your card and a PIN to open the lock box, and voila: You'll have your copy of À la recherche du temps perdu with your morning tea and madeleines. Just a little Friday afternoon mental meandering...

Thanks to OCLC's Jane Dishong for pointing me toward this story.

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