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Library district opens second 24-hour kiosk in Springfield

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Three years after the state’s first automated 24-hour library kiosk debuted in the Queen City, a second one launched last week in northeast Springfield.

The Springfield-Greene County Library District opened Library Express East on Aug. 26 in the parking lot of the Frisco Building, 3253 E. Chestnut Expressway. The outdoor kiosk is open 24 hours a day and can be used by Springfield-Greene County Library card holders, according to a news release.

Springfield-Greene County Library spokesperson Kathleen O’Dell said the total project cost is roughly $298,000, which includes the kiosk, concrete pad, canopy, internet and electric hookups, and engineering and permit fees. Over $173,000 was provided by the Friends of the Library and the remainder, roughly $125,000, came from American Rescue Plan Act funds. The ARPA money came in the form of a Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the State Library, she said.

O’Dell said the library district signed a five-year lease for $1,000 per month with Frisco Building owner Erlen Group.

The library district’s first 24-hour automated kiosk, Library Express West, opened in 2019 at 3872 W. Chestnut Expressway, in the Orchard Plaza shopping center, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. At the time, library officials noted it as the first-of-its-kind kiosk in the state to be run by a public library. Library Express East is the second, officials say.

Library officials said money for projects such as the kiosk, which dispenses books, DVDs and audiobooks, is provided from the Friends of the Library book sales the district holds biannually, according to past reporting. Its next book sale is scheduled Sept. 14-18 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E-plex.

Both 24-hour kiosks can hold around 340 items, O’Dell said, noting Library Express East was a response to requests by east-side residents seeking a closer library branch. Aside from the kiosks, the district has 10 brick-and-mortar branches.

“We heard from people living and working or driving through that area of east Springfield that there was a need for convenient library service on that side of the city,” O’Dell said via email, noting the farthest east brick-and-mortar library is the Schweitzer Brentwood branch off Seminole Street near Glenstone Avenue. “We also liked the ‘bookend’ idea of having Library Express East on one side and Library Express West on the other.”

Visitors to the kiosks scan their library card or key in their number, choose a title by typing the item number and a drawer will dispense it, according to the release. Multiple items can be checked out per visit. Items also can be requested online for pickup at the kiosk or another library branch.

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