INNOVATIVE: Ipswich Libraries' Sylvia Swalling and Matt Pascoe in front of the Library Pod.
INNOVATIVE: Ipswich Libraries' Sylvia Swalling and Matt Pascoe in front of the Library Pod. Cordell Richardson

Innovative self-service library pod opens up

IPSWICH Libraries has begun an exciting new chapter with the opening of an innovative self-service facility, designed to draw back in disengaged readers.

In an Australian first for a public library, the $280,000 Library Pod is now open for use at the Karalee Shopping Village.

Library members will be able to use a library card or an app on their phone to browse, borrow and return books.

Ipswich Libraries customer experience manager Matt Pascoe said it had been in the works for well over a year and it is stocked with multiple copies of the most popular titles and all time favourites.

Customers can browse e-books, e-magazines and downloadable audio collections from a large touch screen and borrow them immediately. After scanning a library card or your phone, the cabinet door opens and any removed books are automatically checked out to the linked account.

The Library Pod will also be available for the return of books and for the collection of items reserved online from the library's full collection.

Everything can be accessed 24/7 and new titles will be available every month with the pod restocked twice daily.

"This is really about bringing the library to people at their point of need," he said. "The only other people to use this particular technology have been universities. There are no other public libraries yet using this.

"This represents a really easy way for people to engage with the library and with our resources without them having to go out of their way to do it. They can just stroll through when they're picking up the milk and grab their favourite book on the way through.

"If they don't find something that they like here, we've got hundreds of thousands of books for them to choose them. They can reserve them and then have them available here to pick up in a day or two's time."

Ipswich Libraries has more than 50,000 members, with a 41 per cent increase in people signing up in the past 12 months over the previous year.

Anyone with a library membership can use the pod and can sign up by using the Ipswich Libraries app.