Park Ridge library to pursue off-site kiosk for e-book borrowing

Plans are underway to create a satellite branch of the Park Ridge Public Library — in the form of a computer kiosk.

The Library Board of Trustees on April 11 gave Executive Director Janet Van De Carr the OK to pursue the purchase of a computer kiosk that will be located away from the library campus and allow patrons to check out digital materials that download to other devices, like smart phones, tablets, e-readers and personal computers.

The location for the kiosk has not been determined, but Van De Carr said she plans to explore spots on the south or north ends of the city, which are the farthest neighborhoods from the library.

"I will be contacting different businesses and the park district to talk about locations and see what we may be able to do," she said.

The plan for the kiosk — which will be placed inside a building — is to give patrons the ability to check out e-books, Van De Carr said. Allowing residents to sign up for a library card or browse the library's website will also be explored, she added.

Currently, patrons can select and download digital materials right from their personal mobile devices, but the kiosk has an added purpose, Van De Carr indicated.

"We think it would be a great way to promote the library outside our building, in the community," she said. "That's our goal with these devices."

Library Trustee Michael Reardon approached the board with the kiosk concept after seeing one at the San Antonio Airport.

"What it gives is exposure," he said. "The idea is to increase our service level and hopefully increase the turnover of digital materials."

The approximate base cost for the device is $3,000, Trustee Char Foss-Eggemann told the board.

"I thought that was pretty reasonable to have a fancy outpost of our library that's open 24/7," she said.

Additional costs related to staff time needed to set up the kiosks are estimated at $1,120, according to Van De Carr's memo. There is also a currently unknown cost for installation of an internet connection and a monthly internet fee, the memo says.

An ad shared with the board shows a kiosk with touch screen capability that is also accessible for users with disabilities. The exact model that the Park Ridge library will purchase has not yet been decided, Van De Carr said.

Twitter: @Jen_Tribune

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