First in-mall library kiosk debuts in Clovis

Fresno County library director Laurel Prysiazny and associate county director Kelley Worman-Landano post next to the Envisionware 24-hour library. Photo via Envisionware Facebook page.Fresno County library director Laurel Prysiazny and associate county director Kelley Worman-Landano post next to the Envisionware 24-hour library. Photo via Envisionware Facebook page.Taking a cue from the proliferation of Red Box and other rental kiosks, the Fresno County Public Library has unveiled a new touchscreen 400-book library kiosk at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis.

Today was the first day the kiosk was available to Sierra Vista Mall shoppers, said Jonathan Waltmire, library spokesperson. It will be open during regular mall hours.

The kiosk is located inside the mall next to the Kohl's entrance. All that is required to use the system is a Fresno County Public Library card.

Waltmire said this is the first indoor automated library kiosk to be located inside a US shopping mall.

The 24-hour library system, which can hold 300-400 books, books on CD, DVDs and other digital media materials, is made by a company called EnvisionWare. Fresno's is one of the first systems in use in the country, according to the School Library Journal, which states the systems cost about $200,000 each.

The kiosk allows patrons to search the Fresno County Public Library catalogue, place holds on items and return items. Waltmire said to start the kiosk has only books, but other digital media will be available in coming weeks. Library staff will man the kiosk for a while to help patrons learn the system, but eventually it will be a standalone kiosk that will be serviced with new materials twice a week, Waltmire said.

A grand opening is planned for next month.

"As with any new technology it's going to take a couple of weeks to work the bugs out," Waltmire said.

The kiosk is aimed at busy shoppers in a part of town with strong demand, Waltmire added.

"Clovis is an area of great demand for library use," he said. "This is a way to bring the library to where people are going to be."