Self-Checkout Kiosks Come To Brooklyn Libraries

Emulating drug stores and supermarkets, the Brooklyn Public Library has installed self-checkout machines across the borough, including the Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Kings Bay, Highlawn, Mapleton,, Homecrest and Bay Ridge branches.

The library says the automated checkout “dishwasher-sized units” will enable patrons to borrow and return materials more conveniently and efficiently, allowing staff to spend more time engaging with the community, according to a story in the Brooklyn Eagle.

Two self-checkout machines have been in operation at the Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West, for several months. Brooklyn Public Library President & CEO Linda Johnson says the initiative is part of a new model of public service, “one of many innovations including increased access to eBooks and a new books-on-demand Espresso Book Machine at the Central Library.” BPL was recently honored as a leading innovator by The Urban Libraries Council.

Let’s hope they work better than the self-serve check-out kiosks at CVS on Henry Street.

(Photo: McBrooklyn)

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  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    I love using the self-checkout machines at the libary but sometimes only one is working. They are already having problems with them.
    They need at least one more machine.

  • Reggie

    In Brooklyn Heights, staff mostly engages the public out back at the bookmobile. You would think a “leading innovator” could figure out how to get the air conditioner to work.

  • Knight

    They’ll probably work just as well as the self-serve kiosks at CVS, which seem to work for most people. But if you opt to go to one, don’t know what you’re doing, and aren’t very intuitive, you’ll probably screw up and blame the kiosk!

  • Neighbor Hodd

    LOL..”allowing staff to spend more time engaging with the community”…yeah, in the unemployment line.

  • Henry

    Mid 2012 BPL gets self checkout machines. This is only years behind other major US cities including Houston, Phoenix, Austin, LA and Chicago. The news is not that we got the machines; it is that BPL system is way behind the rest of the country.

  • bookie

    I checked out a book there last week and had to scan it maybe 5 times before it worked. I like the idea but when it ends up taking longer to check out with the machine than with a human being, what’s the point.

  • Knight

    Well, Henry, at least we’re still ahead of Queens and Staten Island!

  • Tim

    Self checkout has been in BH library for over 6 mos. In fact when I have gone there that has been the ONLY method of checkout. What has caught up is BH Blog’s awareness of it. :)

  • She’s Crafty

    I’ve never had a problem with these machines, but before everyone gets hysterical keep in mind they are electronic, and all electronic things fail sometimes. I would rather have the library open more hours and use their money to hire real librarians rather than just staff who work to check out books.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    She’s Crafty,
    I go to the library at least once or twice a week. The staff is no longer even checking out books. These machines are frequently out of service. I agree that the clerical staff should be reduced and more librarians hired. I would have thought that by putting in the self-checkout machines that staff would be reduced but that does not appear to have happened. I often see two or three woman sitting at the front desks with little to do.

  • She’s Crafty

    @Willow, the other day I went and the library was closed b/c of the air conditioning issue, so I went to the bookmobile in the back. I actually had a book on hold which I was anxious to check out, but they don’t keep the hold books on the bookmobile. Anyway, I was browsing the (limited) selection, and one of the staff in the bookmobile mentioned she was going into the library to get some post its. I asked her if she could get my book from the hold shelf, but she said no, because “the area it is in is too hot.” Give me the electronic machines any day!

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    She’s Crafty,
    I got one better! A year or so ago I was waiting on line to check out my book. There were three women sitting there doing nothing. I think they were entertaining themselves on their computers. No one looked up at me so I walked over to one of the women so that she could check me out. She looked up at me and said “I didn’t call you from the line”. She made me go back to the line and then called me over. I got even. A few months later the same woman asked me to sign a petition and I said NOOOOOOOOO. She is still gainfully employed at that library. I myself cannot imagine behaving that way let alone getting away with it!

  • She’s Crafty

    @Willow, it is the same person, I am sure! I’ve got her number. The “real” librarians (i.e. those with MLS degrees) who work there are extremely helpful, especially one of the ladies in the children’s section. I do love that library. I take my son each week and I am always placing books on hold through the website.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    She’s Crafty,
    I went to the library at 3PM today and surprise, surprise, it was closed. Three people were peering through the gates and I told them that they library was closed because the air conditioning was not working. I told them to come back early tomorrow morning.
    The only contact I usually have at the library is with the women who work the front desks. I always order my books through the website but I wish someone could tell me why one of my books was in transit for two whole weeks. I could walk the entire length of Brooklyn in half a day!

  • Rush Paper

    I wish we had this at our nearby library too. It is such a hassle when I wait for long lines just to check out several books for my classes. And because lines are too long and the librarians have to work nonstop, the seem to be in a foul mood. It’s better to check out the books yourself because it’s fast and you do not have to ask someone to bring the books home. Librarians can focus on helping students get the resource materials they need instead.