The Challenges of D.I.Y. Circulation

From today\'s New York Times:

On a recent weekday evening, scores of work-weary people waited to check out materials at the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library while, a few yards away, two self-service checkout machines stood idle.

Michael Dong of the Bronx approached one, but his attempt at do- it-yourself library clerking ended in an error message. \"Of all the times I\'ve tried it, it\'s worked once,\" said Mr. Dong of the machine as he abandoned it in exasperation.

He is not alone. For the past eight years, many libraries in the United States have invited people to step out of line and check out materials themselves. But library patrons have been less than enthusiastic about the devices, which have yet to live up to their manufacturers\' promise of becoming the book borrower\'s version of the automated teller.

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