Peninsula library card holders can now check out and return books at an automated lending machine that opened today at the Millbrae BART station.
The machine, called Library-a-Go-Go, can hold up to 800 books, mostly fiction and non-fiction best sellers, and commuters can browse or search the catalog in English, Spanish or Chinese.
“We’re delighted to welcome and launch this innovative project,” said Millbrae Mayor Dan Quigg.
After the installation of a library machine at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station in 2008, San Mateo librarians asked BART to place one at the highly trafficked Millbrae station – which received about 1.4 million passengers last year, according to BART.
The ATM-like device has two stations, one with a touch-screen to select a book, and the other for pick-up and drop-off. Items can be checked out for three weeks and returned either at the BART station or any of the 33 libraries in the Peninsula Library System.
“We will check it on a daily basis, and it will house a vibrant collection,” said Greg Bodin, Peninsula library services director. “We want people to use it, so we’re putting in the most popular selections.”
The machine will electronically communicate daily usage to librarians, determining the periodic need for a technician to replenish items.
“Public libraries in 2011 are not just about single buildings, but services distributed throughout the community to meet people at their point of need,” said California State Librarian Stacey Aldrich.
Riders will not be able to pay any fines on the Library-a-Go-Go, but the machine will dispense receipts at the time of pick-up and drop-off.
The project is funded in part by the US Institution of Museum and Library Services and by the members of the Peninsula Library System.