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Peekskill's Field Library Unveils Self Check-out

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Field Library has a new self-help section, but it's of the electronic kind.

The library has started using a self-checkout machine that allows library patrons to check out books themselves much like they can check themselves out at many supermarkets. All that is required is a valid library card.

Library Director Sibyl Canaan said the library is testing the machine on a trial basis for a month to see how visitors respond to it.

"We want to see if people like it and get feedback on their experiences with it," Cannan said. "So far the response has been positive. Most people say they can't wait to try it."

The machines are also capable of checking in books but that will require the library to create some sort of deposit bin first, she said.

The machine is electronically connected to the Westchester Library System circulation system. Only libraries in Chappaqua and Mamaroneck have the machines on a full-time basis in the county, mostly due to their price. The machines cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to purchase.

That cost is one of the reasons the library is testing the machines first before buying one, Canaan said. The library is already working to upgrade its technology with the purchase of e-reader machines such as the Barnes & Noble Nook and, like most other libraries, the Field staff is watching to see what new innovations mean for their profession.

 "We don't even know if books will exist five years from now," Canaan said.

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