Lexington will have a new way to borrow books when the Lexington Public Library's new Northside Branch opens Friday. Northside, at 1733 Russell Cave Road, will be Lexington's first library in which all patrons will check out their own books using a self-checkout machine, said Doug Tattershall, library spokesman.
Self-checkout machines will eventually be used at all six of the library's locations. Dates have not been set for the launch of self-checkout machines at the other sites.
The move to self-checkout is intended to reduce lines at the circulation desk and to free up library staff to help people, Tattershall said.
Currently, librarians ask patrons if they've found everything they're looking for as they are checking out their books.
The library wants improve customer service on the front end, when people are looking for books, Tattershall said. "You get to place the emphasis on a different kind of public service."
Northside will have six self-checkout machines.
The machines are easier to use than the self-checkout stations at the grocery store, Tattershall said.
Library staff will be available help people as needed, Tattershall said. "Most people will not need help. Most people will just go straight through without asking for any help."
The machines can be used to check out all library materials, Tattershall said.
People can also pay fines at the machine.
The self-checkout machines at Northside aren't the first ones in Lexington's libraries.
The Village Branch, 2185 Versailles Road, has had a self-checkout machine since it opened in 2004, but it wasn't the only checkout option available to patrons, Tattershall said.
At more than 27,000 square feet, the new Northside is the largest branch library in Lexington.
It cost $7.7 million to build.