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Public Transportation Meets Public Library

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The list of reasons for using public transportation just keeps growing: saving energy, protecting our environment, having fewer traffic jams. Now Bay Area commuters have an even bigger incentive to ride public transportation. The Contra Costa County Library has begun a partnership with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to provide an automated book “vending machine” for its patrons.

The new “Library A Go Go” machines will appear first in county BART stations in April, then in local shopping centers. Contra Costa County library card holders will be able to borrow books and return them to the same machine where they were borrowed within three weeks. The machines will hold about 400 popular titles, fiction and non-fiction. Library staff will be on hand at the BART stations for a month to assist users and to register new library card users.

A marriage between public transportation and public libraries is tremendous, especially appearing in a major metropolitan area that’s choked with commute traffic. In the library world, we love to look at benchmarks and copy success stories. The machines have already been in use in Sweden, Norway, and Finland and others U.S. cities are bound to follow... Metro, are you listening?

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