Bloq.it

Library Lockers: a Growing Trend in 2022?

. Reading time: 4 min.

Barbara Alvarado
Barbara Alvarado
Library Lockers - Bloq.it

A new use case in the smart lockers ecosystem is unlocked: Smart Library Lockers.

No doubt libraries are some of the most “hush” and “contactless” places out there, and one of the few premises we can find where people have a more “self-service” attitude – human contact is barely zero, and personal assistance is required if only really needed.

This makes it the perfect fit for smart lockers to fit in by being an excellent curb-side option for pick-up and drop-off of books, encyclopedias, journals, and any other related materials.

But why is it so hard to find self-service lockers in libraries? Why are smart library lockers a new thing on these premises?

Innovation in times of the Pandemic: Library Lockers

As with many other industries, the demand for library lockers is a new trend that arose during the pandemic days – just to put things into perspective, the smart locker market stood at USD 644.8 million in 2020 and although this increase is mainly attributed to e-commerce demand, libraries also faced enormous challenges with the restrictions imposed.

Library users experienced inconveniences with exchanging books and media material, and once some of the restrictions were lifted, university, private and community libraries realized they needed to work on a better system.

Social distancing limitations were indeed a huge setback that opened a window for smart lockers innovation to fit in libraries. However, the key factor that pushed libraries to openly adapt to this new material exchange and management system was the need to incorporate more technology, and a technology that would optimize users’ and staff time – in a contactless way.

Library Lockers can help optimize the user experience in the library.
A reader in the library juggling her books (Photo by Photo by Cottonbro – Pexels)

How can Smart Lockers technology apply to Libraries?

Smart Lockers software can facilitate the borrowing and returning process of any library regardless of the operating system used, allowing users to skip queues at the reception or the reckless action of dropping books into a basket without leaving a proper record or evidence of return, which can become detrimental for both parties: the user and the library.

Library lockers provide a convenient and safe way for library users and even staff members to borrow and return library material 24h per day – no time limit applies with this new method.

But how can librarians keep track, control, and monitor return deadlines and related information?

Up to now, library operations have kept the same standard and workflow and this system seems to be working.

Smart locker’s objective is just to improve the pick-up/drop-off process without interfering with the back-office operations.

Hence, the recording workflow of users/material ID, dates, times, and related matters would stay the same.

Library Smart Lockers are a growing trend in 2022
Smart Lockers for Libraries are a growing trend in 2022 – Photo by Adobe Stock

Advantages of integrating Smart Lockers into Library operations

Besides all the time flexibility that these hardware and software combo offers to users, it is also a highly efficient method for self-check-out, convenient for those smaller libraries with a limited number of staff members or for those university libraries that run 24/7. 

Let’s not forget that this innovation is not just convenient for users. Automated lockers also improve library staff members’ daily tasks of sorting and reshelving material. 

Undoubtedly, the need for a non-face-to-face methodology in times of Covid-19 has changed the library experience in many cities around the world, and it is just a matter of time for the rest of the private and community libraries to adapt to this new demand.

Library Lockers are the end of lines in any library
Library Lockers are the end of lines in any library reception (Photo by Cottonbro – Pexels)

How can Bloq.it Smart Lockers’ technology help Libraries?

At Bloq.it we master the development of tailor-made software technology adapted to the business nature.

In the case of library lockers, the software is fully integrated into the library platform. With it, the librarian and users can have seamless communication at all times, and the user can confirm lockers’ modular availability from their phones thanks to API technology.

With many different modular locker configurations and sizes available, our specialists are here to guide you and discuss the differences between all available options. The idea is to work on a personalized solution that accommodates your business’ demands.

Reach out now to our experts and get a free consultation.