Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simpler library drop-box solution?

Here is my local library branch - the Steinway branch of the Queens Public Library system.  The Queens Public Library system is one of the biggest in the world, and they do a fantastic job.  I have many great things to say about them.  I stop by and pick up 50 (the limit) books to read to the kids and swap them out every 3 weeks.

From Innovation Bootcamp

I'd like to be able to drop the books off at any time, including the evening and on Sunday.  But the drop box is only open when the custodian is in the building, usually from 6:30 a.m. to whenever they open.  Unfortunately, if it is the custodian's day off, the drop slot is closed, and you could bring an armful of books by in the morning and then have to carry them to work or walk home.

From Innovation Bootcamp

I asked one of the librarians why they don't just leave the drop-slot open 24/7.  I was told that they've had problems with people dropping all sorts of unfortunate things through the slot, including items on fire, and live animals.  She told me that on branch - on Broadway in Queens, has a machine that accepts library materials 24/7.  But you need to swipe your card, and then you can put in one item into the slot at a time.

They have a plan to install this machine at the Steinway branch.  But there isn't enough space in the current configuration.  So they plan to switch the handicap ramp to the other door.  And inside the building there isn't enough room, so they are going to have to move a wall and expand into the area currently occupied by the local library's director's office.

There is a cheaper, more elegant solution:

From Innovation Bootcamp

If they don't want to put it on the street in front of the library (there is certainly room on the sidewalk out front), they could put it in the CVS at the end of the block.  Good for CVS: more foot traffic.  Good for the library.

1 comment:

  1. Put it in a well lit place next to a store that is open 24/7. I find often that solutions are too high tech (and high cost) when a very simple solution would do.


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