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As economic uncertainty looms, libraries continue to face challenges with staff shortages and reduced open hours. Communities rely heavily on public libraries during periods of economic disruption. Still, this same disruption can make it difficult for libraries to provide an equitable model to serve the local community’s needs.
Public libraries are lifelines for many communities, delivering vital resources and services that empower individuals during periods of economic disruption.
Budgeting crises caused by uncertainty have resulted in staff shortages and limited open hours for libraries nationwide. This disrupts basic operations and impairs the library’s ability to respond quickly to community needs such as job searching or financial literacy assistance.
Many libraries use library pick up lockers, such as Bibliotheca’s remoteLocker, to help ensure easy access to reserved titles, items and materials, bridge service gaps and deliver easy access and accessibility to patrons.
What is remoteLocker?
The remoteLocker is a flexible modular library smart locker that can be placed anywhere in the community to provide patrons with an easy-to-use holds pickup, browsing, and return self-service locker experience. Multiple locker door styles and sizes allow the remoteLocker to be customized for any library location or community space.
Bibliotheca’s automated library lockers will provide libraries with the tools to bridge service gaps while allowing users to pick up or drop off their reserved materials and items when it best suits their schedule. In addition, remoteLocker’s layout flexibility ensures a customized pickup and drop off experience for library patrons that compliments the user and existing library network.
Our library smart lockers have been installed in library vestibules, grocery stores, community centers, parking lots, and even fire stations. Graphic wraps allow libraries customize a locker to increase awareness and promote their brand, while the intuitive software makes borrowing items, returning items, and managing accounts simple for patrons. When paired with uniFi+, Bibliotheca’s integrated library communications solution, remoteLocker, can function as digital billboards, engaging the community outside the library and advertising available services and programs.
Meeting modern expectations with library lockers
Covid-19 dramatically altered how we access goods and services, including library materials. Convenience and safety became paramount for users, and patron expectations, which were already heightened by the rise of on-demand services, increased significantly.
The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the world in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. People’s access to goods and services, such as library materials, had to be adapted for safety, convenience, and sustainability.
Many libraries rose to the challenge by providing contactless pickup services and enhanced online library access. As a result of our new digital reality, user expectations have changed significantly. Services that people used to perceive as luxury are now regarded as basic requirements. Therefore, our libraries must continue innovating and meeting these evolving needs to keep up with the changing times.
The growing Popularity Of Smart Lockers
Amazon Hub lockers, once only available in major metropolitan areas, became commonplace even in smaller communities, increasing consumer familiarity with pick up lockers.
During the pandemic, numerous libraries faced challenges transitioning to curbside pickup for their materials. As a result, many of these libraries opted to implement library hold lockers to alleviate the strain on staff members.
The remoteLocker self service model has since become an indispensable part of their offering.
Post-pandemic, consumers and library patrons have grown accustomed to picking up items when and where they choose. Providing choice and convenient access has become table stakes for libraries committed to remaining relevant to their communities. remoteLocker helps libraries meet these modern expectations every day of the week.
Build A Mini Branch With RemoteLocker Smart Lockers
The remoteLocker offers multiple possibilities. It can function solely as a library holds pickup location or be configured to act as an independent mini branch. Incorporate integrated return bins to help patrons return materials to the library on time. With remoteLocker Indoor, use transparent doors to provide a browse-and-borrow experience or show doors to show off non-traditional items like board games. A large locker can accommodate curated subject kits, media binge sets, or musical instruments.
remoteLocker’s intuitive software and modular system is simple for patrons to use without assistance, making it perfect for unstaffed locations. Patrons scan items with their own phone or library card to borrow items, return items, and manage their accounts easily. Meanwhile, cloud-based health status and comprehensive reporting mean library staff can monitor the smart lockers from anywhere.
Opening a new mini-branch is faster than you might imagine. With domestic stock and a quick turnaround, libraries can install remoteLocker on site in no time.
How Library Staff Can Use RemoteLocker To Meet Strategic Goals
A smart locker provides libraries with an innovative tool to bring convenience, equity and access to patrons. By empowering patrons to collect library materials on their terms, remote lockers give them control over when, where and how they access library services.
This opportunity positions libraries as agents of strategic community engagement initiatives. This technology widens equitable access and extends reach, and better relationships are formed between libraries and their communities.
The remoteLocker provides patrons with a convenient solution and helps libraries compete with commercial interests in an ever more on-demand world. But they can also play a key role in libraries’ long-term strategic goals, such as community engagement, equitable access, and expanded reach.
Many libraries use smart lockers in all-hours vestibules to offer 24/7 access to library items to third-shift workers and others that cannot visit the library during traditional open hours. The remoteLocker outdoor is genuinely weatherproof and has been used in climates ranging from Canada to Texas to offer this same 24/7 pick up in parking lots and green spaces.
In rapidly growing areas, remote library lockers are an innovative solution for bridging the gap between community growth and infrastructure. Even building a small ancillary branch can cost upwards of 10 million dollars. It can take years to make way for a capital outlay of that size – meanwhile, the community continues to grow.
Thanks to remoteLocker, years of waiting for the money to be allocated and construction of new infrastructure could be avoided, allowing communities to keep up with their increasing size and needs more quickly. Now more than ever, the benefits of remoteLocker in bridging gaps between growth and infrastructure is crystal clear.
remoteLocker In The Community
Both Oakville Public Library and Mooresville Public Library have used lockers to affordably expand the library’s reach into new areas and provide much-needed library services during periods of explosive growth.
Niagara On The Lake installed a remoteLocker in the fire station of a remote village to extend library access to its rural patrons. Lockers have been used in community centers and Boys and Girls Clubs in urban areas to quickly provide library service to historically under-served communities. At the same time, cities work to address long-standing equity issues.
Not just for public libraries, remoteLocker provides a simple way for colleges and universities to deliver requested materials to busy students whenever it is convenient – even in the middle of the night. For example, The University of Manchester uses lockers to get valuable interlibrary loans into the hands of students as quickly as possible.
With remoteLocker, providing your library and its patrons with a convenient, secure, and comfortable experience has never been easier. RemoteLocker delivers a comprehensive solution that makes library technology more accessible than ever before.
The indoor remoteLocker also benefits from additional features, including borrow and return, and customisable doors.
With remoteLocker, you can extend and improve access to everything from rare books to computer services. Our streamlined process saves libraries time and money while ensuring patrons’ needs are met without having to leave the comfort of their homes or offices. From improved convenience with intuitive technologies to enhanced security for your precious materials, remoteLocker can increase your library’s value without breaking the bank.
If you’re ready to take advantage of all that the future of library technology has to offer, download the remoteLocker flyer, explore our FAQ, or contact a member of our team here and discover how our revolutionary platform can help transform your public library into a world-class facility.