Pataskala library kiosk to allow readers to check out books 24/7

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You won't have to whisper when you visit the new library in Pataskala. In fact, you'll soon be able to check out a book without going into a building.

A trip to the library is an experience for most: wandering through stacks of books, reading through front flaps and enjoying the children's section.

But now the Licking County library's main branch is shrinking that experience into a kiosk.

“It’s just a one-stop shop, we know people are busy,” Licking County Library Director Babette Wofter said.

Being able to do everything is the advantage. Other kiosks exist but this will be the first in the state to offer all services; from returns to check-outs to DVDs.

“You can pay your fees there; you can download e-books,” Wofter said. “There’s a download station on one end as well you can also return your items there.”

While the box is a convenience, it also serves a few purposes. It's going up in the parking lot of Central Ohio Technical College in the Licking Heights School District, an area currently not served by the county library.

“The idea of not having to maintain bricks and mortar building and staff it,” Wofter said.

But the kiosk seems to fit a certain niche and isn't necessarily going to replace the experience. Columbus looked into it but decided it wasn’t a good fit.

“We have 23 locations serving Franklin County. [It] really makes it difficult to employ effectively. We’d need to purchase quite a few of them in order to do that,” Ben Zenitsky from the Columbus Metropolitan Library said.

Users will have about 400 items to choose from. The kiosk is set to open in mid-September and will be open 24/7.