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Library makes it easier to borrow

SOLIHULL’s Central ­Library launched its new self-service system recently with the premise that users would find it even easier to take out their favourite books, CDs and DVDs.

SOLIHULL’s Central ­Library launched its new self-service system recently with the premise that users would find it even easier to take out their favourite books, CDs and DVDs.

Four kiosks were installed and ready to use from Thursday, May 14 meaning library users can take out, return and renew items with their library card. Staff are still available to guide people through the process for now and the new service should mean that they will have more time to spend with customers.

We popped along to see the kiosks in action.

There’s quite a queue outside the library at 10am on Wednesday. I wonder what the problem is and then see the opening times – 10 am on a Wednesday!

Still the popularity of Solihull’s flagship library is clear. What will its users make of the new self serve kiosks though?

The kiosks stand smartly in the foyer and replace the staffed area which checked books, CDs and DVDs in and out. There are several members of staff on hand to guide customers through the process and within minutes the queue has disappeared.

Yvonne Negus is head of branch libraries. She said: “There are four machines altogether here and most people are pretty happy. We did lots of research. People worry that they will lose contact with staff but hopefully people will have more contact with them as this system will actually free them up. We can spend longer with people and talk about what they like to read. We will give it six to eight weeks and then the self help desk will go but there will still be someone here as a meeter and greeter.”

Chris Morris, project manager for self service, added: “There has been a lot of work gone into this to ensure it’s easy.

“Fundamentally this is the way our libraries are going – we actually waited until the system had been established across the country.”

Shirley Bamber was using the ­kiosk for the first time. The Sheldon resident said: “I think it’s simple. I’ve got bad eyesight so it’s great that the screens and the instructions are large. Usually I have to have someone to read things to me.”

Also impressed with the new self-service system was Steve Duffy from Monkspath. He visits the library twice a week with children Lara who is three and Tilly, 18 months. “It’s really quick and from our point of view it means that the kids can get involved. It makes it a great system.”

 

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Cathrina Hulse
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Annette Belcher
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