I popped down to Cowley Library this morning to drop back some books that were due back and, inevitably, to borrow some more. Although it is my most local library, I more often visit the Headington branch, which is a pleasant stroll away during a lunch break at work. Since I last visited Cowley Library, they have installed self-service stations and moved the main desk further back into the library.
The new system works very well, automatically recognising books that you place on the designated area. I presume they are tagged with some kind of RFID chip but it still seems magical!
It probably means a reduction in staffing hours, so I hope the machines continue to work as smoothly as they did this morning. Still, for those staff who remain, hopefully it means they can exercise more of the skills of a librarian that go beyond being a white-collar checkout assistant, using their expertise to help people find the information they are after.