Ig­nored self- ser­vice kiosks ‘ could be re­moved’ from some li­braries

Solihull News - - NEWS - DAVID IR­WIN david. ir­win@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

SELF- SER­VICE kiosks could be re­moved from some smaller li­braries in Solihull, with a re­cent re­view sug­gest­ing that vis­i­tors pre­ferred to deal with a per­son at cer­tain sites.

Sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy has be­come in­creas­ingly com­mon in su­per­mar­kets and other re­tail­ers, but coun­cil of­fi­cers ad­mit that there are sev­eral li­brary branches where the scan­ners are rarely used.

The cab­i­net meet­ing for leisure, tourism and sport was ad­vised that some vis­i­tors ap­pre­ci­ated the in­ter­ac­tion with staff mem­bers and if the kiosks were be­ing over­looked it made sense to free up the space for some­thing else.

The tech­nol­ogy had pre­vi­ously en­coun­tered some re­sis­tance when it was in­stalled in li­braries such as Knowle al­most a decade ago, with some vis­i­tors at the time ar­gu­ing that a ma­chine was no re­place­ment for a per­son.

Coun­cil­lor Laura McCarthy ( Lib Dem, Elm­don), a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Hobs Moat Li­brary, said: “My con­cern is that if you get rid of the kiosk – just based on foot­fall – are you go­ing to be cre­at­ing a lot more work for the li­brar­ian?”

She was as­sured that the sys­tem would re­main in place in branches where it was sav­ing cus­tomers from wait­ing, but the lo­cal au­thor­ity had iden­ti­fied “less than half a dozen sites” where the kiosks were be­ing largely ig­nored. A de­ci­sion is due to be taken by the cab­i­net mem­ber, Coun Joe Tildes­ley, at a later date, along with var­i­ous other rec­om­men­da­tions for li­brary ser­vices. These in­clude ax­ing the mo­bile li­brary ser­vice from next year – with money be­ing redi­rected to the home li­brary set- up – and con­sid­er­ing changes to branch open­ing hours. Coun Ch­eryl Bux­ton- Sait ( Green, Cas­tle Bromwich) said: “When you see the word re­shap­ing, you think ‘ is that just an­other word for cuts?’”

Of­fi­cers in­sisted that the in­ten­tion wasn’t to close ser­vices.

Hobs Moat Li­brary

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