An innovative approach to modern library services will be moving to the West Central neighborhood this year.
A new library kiosk capable of holding 300 books and other materials will be installed at the West Central Community Center with an opening expected by July 17. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be compared to the Redbox video dispensers outside convenience stores.
The $183,000 kiosk is being funded with donations from a number of sources.
On Tuesday, the Spokane Public Library hosted a check-passing ceremony to honor the two largest contributors, Numerica Credit Union (a $50,000 gift) and Walmart Foundation (a $40,000 gift).
“We look forward to introducing this new technology to Spokane,” said Casey Linane-Booey IV, a member of the city’s library board.
Users will need a library card, which they can obtain from the kiosk.
The kiosk will operate with a touch screen computer and have a Wi-Fi hot spot, said Ray-Lynn Barden, administrative services coordinator for the library. Users will be able to browse the collection in the kiosk as well as the library’s wider collection. They can order books and other materials to be delivered to the kiosk and make returns there, too. Also, electronic materials can be downloaded from the kiosk.
Library Director Andrew Chanse said West Central was selected because it does not have a neighborhood branch library. He said kiosks in Milwaukee and San Diego have proven to be popular, and that the kiosk is designed to resist damage or theft.
The kiosk will be used to gauge whether West Central residents might benefit from expanded library services in the neighborhood such as summer reading programs.
Mayor David Condon said he is excited about increasing access in a new and innovative way through contributions from the community.
“It’s just a fascinating opportunity for us,” he said.
Other contributors are the Community Building Foundation, Spokane Federal Credit Union, Pitney-Bowes, Avista Foundation and the city’s Community Development Block Grants.
Deborah Herron, of the Walmart public affairs regional office, said she traveled from Portland to be part of the check-passing.
Libraries, she said, “have a special place in my heart.”
Chanse said use may grow thanks to a program started Tuesday to issue city library cards to all students of Spokane Public Schools.