Public library mobile kiosk

Mobile library kiosk
During my travels, I saw this mobile library kiosk at a train station and thought that this is a such a brilliant public library initiative. Owned by the Taipei Public Library, this automated machine is modeled very similarly to how regular vending machine works, allowing users to borrow and return books 24/7. The only thing you need is a library card and you will be allowed to check out any of the hundreds of book titles displayed for free.

I love that it is that is so conveniently located, giving travelers access to reading materials right before you embark on a long train journey to keep their minds occupied and entertained. Rather than expecting people to walk into libraries, this is great way of reaching out to people and to keep physical copies of books relevant in our increasingly paperless society.

Any thoughts about this book-lending machine?

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39 thoughts on “Public library mobile kiosk

  1. I completely agree with you! This is an incredible idea and should be introduced to schools and college campuses. I think it would make students interested in reading again!

  2. This easy access to reading material is a great step forward. It seems that it is in need to grow quickly where travelers are located: train stations & airports. Otherwise, if I check out a book for my flight and land in an airport that doesn’t have a mobile library, how will I return the book?.

    1. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a wide variety to choose from as you would expect from any regular libraries just that they selection is limited to about 1000 books or so that could fit into that machine.

  3. A great idea! But what if you hire on a home journey. Is there a library at the other end for return? Or can you buy the book instead of loaning. The days of libraries chasing books for overdue fines is over when the book might have left the country!

    1. The books in the mobile kiosk are all public library books so I don’t think you can buy it. But on the up side, they are located conveniently at most major train stations so it is easy to borrow and return books for most commuters.

      As for your concern that the book might leave the country, Taiwan is an island on its own so it’s impossible to get out of the country on the train. Furthermore, the procedure for checking a book out is that you’ll need to use your library card, which contains some of your personal information, to ensure that they’re some form of record keeping on the library side.

  4. What a brilliant idea! When I was road tripping across the US with my then boyfriend years ago, we discovered that we could rent audio books at many truck stops, and return them hundreds of miles down the road. It did cost, but it’s a similar principle in terms of making books easily accessible – both concepts are fantastic!

  5. That’s the coolest idea ever invented! I often forget to bring a book when I don’t realize that I may have to travel public transport. I wish they had these in Melbourne.

    1. Hahaha I think the Taiwanese have been having this mobile book kiosk since 2011, and I do agree it’s such a great idea 😀

  6. It’s a great portable alternative to e-books, but I dread to think of what the US library vendors would charge for such a contraption.

    1. Awww… but the function of public libraries really is about free loaning and borrowing of books. Would be a shame if they charged for such a mobile kiosk.

      1. No worries! I agree a mobile library should be free. What I meant was that there are vendors who make fixtures, furniture, and equipment for libraries – and unfortunately, THAT stuff is very expensive. I think that more libraries would do great things like this if there wasn’t such a large expense associated with everything (equipment, space, security, etc.) Yet another opportunity for libraries and communities to find a different way to innovate.

  7. While I love reading, I always get so sick when trying to read in a car or on a train. When I was in Japan, I would always envy all the passengers with their noses buried in a book. I think this library kiosk would do very well in Japan.

  8. This reminds me a lot of the vending machine (I believe there is one in Toronto) that gives you a random book title to read. I thought that was a fantastic idea as well and I will be trying to find that vending machine in the future. This seems like an absolutely fantastic idea as well! Libraries are definitely working hard to stay relevant in today’s technology based society.

  9. What a great idea! Anything we can do to get real books into the hands of people is welcome. Why not put machines like this next to Red Box kiosks in malls and supermarkets? Anyplace really that people–especially teens–congregate. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. This is pretty cool! I’d like to see something like this in my area.

    The place where I’m currently residing has a mobile library (like an ice- cream truck but with books) that travel to different towns each month and parents could bring their child to wherever the Book Mobile (I guess you can call it that) has stopped at and could borrow books from there, if they have a library card. I believe, they could sign up for library on the Book Mobile itself if they don’t have one yet. And borrowers could return the books at the nearest library branch or wait for the Book Mobile to return.

    I think that the Book Mobile is a great way to get books to kids in a wider radius 😀

      1. That is such a lovely and possibly sustainable concept for the community to give and share the gift of knowledge! I think setting such a mobile library will be difficult if it’s at the airport, which is why it’s only available at train stations (:

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