Northland Public Library hosts grand openings for remote lending kiosks

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

Avid readers now can borrow books without going to the library.

Northland Public Library's Offsite Modern Alternative Dispenser, or NOMAD, remote lending kiosks allow the user to borrow an item off-site. Each kiosk holds about 500 items, including adult and children's books, CDs and DVDs.

All borrowers need is a library card.

“If you can get a Snickers bar, you can get a library book,” said Kellie Kaminski, 29, director for the Northland Public Library Foundation.

The Northland Public Library staff and community members are holding grand-opening celebrations for the two remote lending kiosks next month. The first is 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Ross Township Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive, and the second is at 6:30 p.m. March 7 at the Baierl Family YMCA, 2565 Nicholson Road in Franklin Park.

Northland staff will give demonstrations on how to use the kiosks and give people the opportunity to acquire a library card, said Kaminski, of Ross Township.

The kiosks have been operating since December, but staff members wanted to ensure they were operating smoothly before doing a lot to publicize them, said library Executive Director Sandra Collins.

And so far, the system has been doing well, with more than 500 items borrowed total. Staff members at the McCandless library also have gotten positive feedback on the ease of use, Collins said.

“Wipe your card, pick your book, press the button, and it comes out just like a candy machine,” said Collins, of McCandless.

The kiosks are the first in the area, and more Pittsburgh-area libraries are interested in using the kiosks, Collins said.

Northland library covers more than 60 square miles of communities in Northern Allegheny County — Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, McCandless, and Marshall and Ross townships.

The cost of the two kiosks was about $60,000, she said. Money from fundraisers was used to buy the kiosks, Kaminski said.

Alex Fallecker of the Duquesne Heights area of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh was at the Baierl Family YMCA recently and used the kiosk.

“I thought it was a really neat idea, and I took advantage of it,” Fallecker said.

He said the kiosk had a good selection.

Fallecker, 24, was able to check out a book for his girlfriend.

“It was easy to use. It would be really nice to see more,” said Fallecker, who works in advertising.

A lending card from any library in Allegheny County works in the kiosks, as do cards from other Pennsylvania libraries if they first are taken to an Allegheny County library to be put in the county system.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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