New prototype pod to extend reach of libraries

Ipswich City Council will install a library pod – a 600-book retail kiosk – at Karalee Shopping Village.

Arts, Social Development and Community Engagement Chief Operating Officer Caroline McMahon said the pod prototype was based on Ipswich Libraries’ successful Market Place collection model.

“As part of Ipswich Libraries’ strategic approach of extending the library’s reach beyond customers having to visit the branches, we are aiming to insert library services where people already congregate,” she said.

“This will create an original collection service offering targeted at residents who may not visit the library branch but would be attracted by a retail kiosk experience that provides self-service browse and borrow functionality.”

Ms McMahon said using established radio frequency identification technology (RFID), customers would be able to browse physical and eBooks using their library card, with the ability to immediately join online and borrow a book also available at the kiosk to drive an increase in membership.

“Over time, location specific borrowing patterns would allow a tailored collection that meets demand. It is anticipated that the library pods would be installed at premier shopping centre locations with the first installation due to occur in this financial year,” Ms McMahon said.

“Ipswich Libraries is committed to ensuring that the pods will be a contemporary ‘retail’ style option for shoppers.”

Ipswich Libraries currently has four branches and one mobile service. Under the Ipswich Library and Information Service Coping with Growth 2008-2026 strategy, Ipswich Libraries aims to extend the collection and presence of the library service into areas identified as remote to the city’s main library facilities.

The deployment of these ‘high tech’ kiosks to locations with high pedestrian traffic potential will achieve this.

Ms McMahon said the library pod concept was anticipated to drive an increase in membership through the local delivery of physical and virtual collection. Ripley Town Centre has also been identified as a potential future venue.

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