May 17, 2022

Robolibraries Rolling Out in Chicago Suburbs

From The Chicago Tribune:

Tucked into vending machines or train station lockers, robolibraries allow patrons to pick up or drop off DVDs and books at their convenience during a time when many suburban libraries are cutting operating hours.

Others might take the form of kiosks that serve nearly the same function as satellite branches and can allow patrons to access books, movies, videos, music, audio books, games or anything else the library lends.

Think of these as Redboxes for readers.

The La Grange Public Library is conducting an online survey of residents to see if they are interested in self-service options such as lockers or vending-style machines that would be placed at sites other than the library.


A self-service DVD dispenser that holds up to 3,700 selections was installed in 2009 at the Rakow branch of the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. Voters approved a $4 million referendum in 2000 to build the branch, but rejected the ballot question for operating expenses. The branch is closed on Fridays, so officials sought ways to serve patrons without opening its doors.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.