Visitors to the branch – over 7,000 per day, making it the busiest library in New York State – have been using the new technology for the past few months.
“We aim to make the library experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible for every customer,” said Queens Library President and CEO Thomas Galante at the ribbon-cutting last Friday.
The new kiosks are multi-lingual, reflecting the diverse population that uses the library. And in addition to the kiosks in the library that are available during operating hours, the Flushing branch also has a 24-hour check-in station on Kissena Boulevard so customers can return materials day or night.
The new self-check stations also mean that library staff spend less time behind desks, making them available to roam the library and assist patrons.
“We can focus on expanding our programming and on the things we do beyond just lending materials,” said Galante.
But the library is also saving time behind the scenes. Once the kiosks accept the returned materials, a system of conveyor belts begins to organize them, resulting in less sorting for library staff. Last Friday morning, a library employee said they sorted 30 bins of materials in one hour, a task that would have taken about half a day with the old system.
The self-check technology is just part of a phased upgrade of the Flushing branch. Up next is an overhaul of the children's section.
“We hope to start that in the summer and complete it by the end of next year,” said branch director Donna Ciampa-Lauria.