Library Book Lending Machines

You finished your book last night. You’re on your way to work this morning and you’re sad because you don’t have time to get to the library today. What would be perfect? A machine at your bus stop, waiting to dispense your next book. Mere seconds out of your day and you have a new book in hand. Sound like fiction? Not quite.

This past week it was in the news that Toronto Public Library will be putting book vending machines into their busy commuter hub at Union Station. (See the news article.) Machines like these already exist in other large cities across Canada, and this has really peaked my interest.

A book lending machine from Edmonton Public Library

A book lending machine from Edmonton Public Library (BlogTO)

I believe that it is one of the jobs of the library to continually assess and expand the way they provide materials to patrons. Libraries are all about accessibility, so the easier the access to information, the better. Libraries typically have several programs in place to improve their accessibility, such as home delivery.

I think it’s natural that reading drops at certain points in our lives. The first few years in the workforce is a busy time period – we’re focusing on our careers and building portfolios. Between work, volunteering, and commuting, we are simply too busy to fit in a trip to the library. So I can’t think of a better thing that being able to pick up books during your commute. It’s so easy and convenient; you already have to be at the station, so why not pick up a book while you’re at it? Plus think about it: you’re about to get onto a bus/train/subway – why not spend that time reading?

A book vending machine in the Stockholm airport. (Huffington Post)

A book vending machine in the Stockholm airport. (Huffington Post)

I’m obviously a huge fan of programs like these. Sometimes it’s not easy to build a library trip into our busy schedules, so why not have the library adapt to us? I think it just shows how libraries can provide better service to its patrons, and if the people can’t come to the library, we’ll bring the library to them! Quite frankly, I am for books in any form. Whether you download them on the computer, pick them up at the library, or pull them from a vending machine, it doesn’t matter, because they’re all a means to an end: to read.


Want more? Check out “A Brief History of Book Vending Machines” from Huffington Post.


9 comments on “Library Book Lending Machines

  1. The first book vending machine was in 1822?!?!?! Holy cramuckas!! Now that’s thinking ahead of his time. I hope these expand more in the U.S., too.

  2. Wow, that’s certainly a novel step in keeping reading up to terms with readers as well as the younger generation. Hopefully it’ll be a success in encouraging reading.

  3. I’m such a fan of these. For convenience sake, there are also Library Drive-Thru’s. There’s one at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library ( and it’s open hours before and after library hours. So genius!

    • That’s so great! Such a nice way to be able to fit books into your schedule when you don’t even need to get out of your car. If you have time to pick up a coffee, you have time to pick up a book! :)

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