Facilitated Access Zone in Book Machines operated by the PROLIB system

Piotr Kurpiel

Book-o-mat’s are gaining more and more popularity. Nowadays, they fit in with the idea of a book “coming” to the reader. These devices are becoming more and more popular among libraries working in the PROLIB system. It only takes a few clicks on the reader’s side, and few activities on the librarian’s side and the book is waiting for collection in one of the book-room hiding places.

Anyone who is an active reader of the library to which the selected device belongs and has the appropriate authorizations granted by a library employee is entitled to use book machines.

The models of implementation of book machines are different – most often one device is placed in front of the library. There are institutions that set up bookstores in their branches. In the PROLIB system it is possible to operate any number of book machines.

Photo of the book-o-mat provided by Arfido Sp. z o.o. at the Municipal Public Library in Gliwice.

From the outside, the book-o-mat is very similar to the Parcel locker. It is usually about 2 meters high, the width depends on the number of compartments, which can be 19, 43, 91 depending on the number of modules in the book-room, and the opening of a single compartment is 11 cm.

To open the top hiding place, you need to reach a height of about 180 cm. It is not difficult for most of us. However, picking up the ordered book from the top box can be a serious problem for short people or people in wheelchairs.

The latest version of the PROLIB system with the INTEGRO search engine allows to solve this problem by introducing the so – called Facilitated Access Zones (SUD).

What is SUD? This is a conventional part of the bookstore, the hiding places of which are placed no higher than 140 cm. Readers ordering books for a bookstore may additionally choose the option of placing them in the SUD.

As standard, information about the order is printed by the PROLIB system in the form of a reverse, which is collected by the librarian who operates the library’s warehouse. When you select a request to place a book in the Facilitated Access Zone, an additional annotation will be printed on the reverse next to the name of the bookstore, e.g. “Book-o-mat at Śliczna stree [SUD] ”. The librarian who loads the book into the bookstore, after checking the reverse, will place it in the free boxes located at the bottom of the device.

In the PROLIB Lending Library module, the librarian has the option of creating an order with the option of placing a book in the Facilitated Access Zone and enabling / disabling this option. Information about this type of order is presented next to the Place of delivery of the copy.

This function may contribute to the use of book-o-mat’s by a wider group of users and strengthen the image of the library as a friendly and accessible institution for every reader.

In the PROLIB team, we keep track of the users’ experiences using book-o-mat’s (user experience), so that the devices in cooperation with the PROLIB library system ensure proper usability (user-friendly).