Uckfield public library is back in action this week after a brief closure for a £50,000 re-fit.
Self-service machines are in operation to speed the mechanical process of booking books in and out of the lending system, writes Paul Watson.
Library staff are helping initially bemused borrowers get the hang of the new system.
Frankly, it is simple to use and to my amazement, the machines can deal with books “in bulk”.
I borrowed a dozen books this morning and the machine dealt with them all in one transaction.
I feared it would be one item at a time; rather like the self-service tills in a supermarket. However, it was much better experience than in Tesco’s, for example.
The layout of the lending library has been greatly improved.
It has changed from what I can best describe as having books lined up in a “corridor” to a much warmer experience; reminiscent of a good bookshop.
A layout “map” is available for lost souls, like me who was surprised to find the local interest titles had been moved into the reference section.
It obviously makes sense to have all this local information in one place – it was my stuck-in-the-last-century attitude that never expected such a piece of “joined-up” thinking.
With some councils talking about closing libraries, it is good see East Sussex County Council investing in the Uckfield branch.
I just hope the council does not use the self-service system as an excuse to cut staff. Date stamping books is hardly a fulfilling job and the changes should give staff more time to help with users’ detailed questions and to further develop the library.
Here's our original story about the library upgrade.