FRANKLIN CO. – The Franklin County Public Library (FCPL) has installed a self-service 24-Hour Library kiosk where the public can access library materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Located at the Summit View Business Park on Route U.S. 220 in Rocky Mount, the kiosk contains 235 books, audiobooks, and DVDs that the public can browse and borrow.
The 24-Hour Library operates like an automated food vending machine except the items are free, a FCPL card is required to borrow them, and the machine is Wi-Fi-enabled. Items available for checkout include bestselling fiction and movies for all ages. Users can visually browse and select items, then scan their library card to dispense them and print a receipt. Users can also dispense a free kit containing a pair of gloves, face mask, and hand sanitizing wipe. Signs, voice prompts, and a video explain how to use the machine. Borrowed items may be returned as well.
The kiosk’s free Wi-Fi service allows users to download e-books and audiobooks to their smartphones or tablets, check their library accounts, and access thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles from the OverDrive digital materials collection.
“We’re excited the kiosk is Wi-Fi-enabled,” said Alison Barry, Director, Franklin County Public Library. “The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced our responsibility to continue to serve county residents who don’t have internet access or are unable to visit our physical buildings. Now people have access to library materials around the clock.”
Situated near public picnic tables, walking trails, and ball fields, the 24-Hour Library is sheltered, wheelchair accessible, equipped with security cameras, and illuminated at night. It has four parking spaces, including one reserved for handicap parking. Future plans include holding outdoor library events near the kiosk.
“The 24-Hour Library is one of several public resources funded through Franklin County’s receipt of CARES Act funds,” said Steve Sandy, Assistant County Administrator. “Due to public health protocols instituted in spring 2020, the county’s library buildings were intermittently closed during the spring into summer. Until the library was cleared to offer curbside service and then later to resume limited indoor hours, there was no way for the public to access its physical books, audio-books, or DVDs. The 24-Hour Library is now in place to provide materials safely and continuously.”
The Franklin County Public Library plans to hold a ribbon-cutting event in late spring. In the meantime, FCPL cardholders with valid accounts may start using the Summit View kiosk. To sign up for a card, stop by the library at Franklin Street or the Westlake Towne Center during indoor service hours. Staff will be available to answer questions about the 24-Hour Library and assist interested cardholders in using free apps, such as Libby and Librista, to download e-books and check their library accounts. For a video demonstration of the 24-Hour Library, please see: https://youtu.be/LnKjLG0rgog
Indoor Service Hours
*355 Franklin St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151: Tuesday & Wednesday, 9A-5P; Thursday, 10A-6P
*84 Westlake Rd, Hardy, VA 24101: Tuesday, 9A-5P; Wednesday, 9A-3P; Thursday, 10A-6P