24-hour automated library opens in Downtown Lafayette

Downtown Lafayette is now home to one of just two fully automated 24-hour libraries east of the Mississippi River.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 11:25 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2018 11:29 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- Downtown Lafayette is now home to one of just two fully automated 24-hour libraries east of the Mississippi River. 

The Tippecanoe County Public Library officially opened the automated library Wednesday.

It's the first in the state. 

If you take a look at it, the library may look like a giant ATM, but instead of cash there are books, music, DVD's, etc.

How it works is TCPL library card holders can scan their cards and select the number of the item they wish to check out using the touch screen monitor. The item is then dispensed in a similar way to a vending machine. Books come out through a small opening and a due date receipt is printed.

Patrons can also return books from any TCPL library at the automated library at any time of the day.

There is a team of selectors at TCPL who's primary job is to find the best books and movies and stock them in the various locations, which now includes this 24-hour machine. The collection is refreshed on a regular basis.  

Library officials are excited for its launch.

"It allows people who work 24 hours to come 24 hours," Communication and Public Relations with TCPL Marina Neal said. "Shift workers now can come here and get things, people who might stay late at MatchBOX can drop by here and drop things off or get things. This is a 24-hour city now I think."

A surveillance camera and security mirror surround the machine, which is located inside the old standard oil building, known as the Red Crown Mini Museum, on the corner of 6th and South Streets. This is right next to the downtown Tippecanoe County Public Library. 

While it is technically located inside, the machine is built for tough weather. It can withstand heat, snow, rain and cold.

"They have them in other places that are colder than our winters and in more exposed places," Neal said. "So we're pretty hopeful that this arrangement will bring out the best in it." 

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