New No Contact Library Lockers
February 15, 2021
Cosumnes River College is the first college in the Los Rios Community College District to offer a safe, no-contact method of checking out physical library materials utilizing pick-up lockers. The CRC Library and Technology Services Dean, librarians, and library staff pushed hard to implement the pick-up lockers. One of the main reasons was so that students could get safe access to the library’s physical textbook collection.
When the pandemic first hit, many publishers allowed ebook copies of their textbooks to be freely accessible from a few companies, but that access only lasted through May 2020. Most textbook publishers restrict ebook licensing for libraries. Libraries cannot purchase licenses that are open to an unlimited number of students like a physical textbook can be. This meant that students enrolling in summer and fall 2020 had no access to an affordable or free textbook unless their instructors had adopted affordable or open educational resources. Research shows that textbook costs are one of the biggest barriers to student success, especially for historically underserved populations.
With public libraries in the region offering curb-side pick-up, the library urged administrators to consider allowing similar services at CRC. “We wanted to make sure we had something in place for the spring semester that would allow access not only to the textbook collection, but to the library’s entire physical collection of books, DVDs, musical scores, and other library materials,” said CRC Librarian, Andi Adkins Poge. “The curb-side option was a short-term solution, but it’s not the safest solution, requiring both students and library staff to make contact, even if it’s very minimal.” It also required library staff to brave the elements and sit outside during cold and rainy days. The pick-up lockers make for a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
The system works very similarly to retail pick-up services. Students and employees can login and search the library’s catalog. If the item is available, users will see a request option. Upon making a request for items owned by the CRC Library, staff members retrieve the item, check it out to the student or employee, and deliver it to the locker. Once it’s placed in the locker and is ready to be picked up, a notification is sent to the requestor with instructions on how to retrieve the item.
Right now, only items owned by the CRC Library can be requested and checked out using this no-contact pick-up locker method. Items owned by other LRCCD libraries must be picked up at their locations, utilizing the systems they have in place.
“The beauty of this technology is that it’s not only allowing us to offer safe ways for students and employees to access our physical collection during the pandemic, it will also give us options to open up circulation of our collections once we’re all back on campus,” said Adkins Pogue. “The pick-up lockers will now make it possible for students who attend night or distance education classes to request and check-out library materials outside of our regular business hours.”
If the pick-up lockers prove to be successful at CRC, similar technologies could be adopted at other Los Rios college libraries. The lockers are now in operation with the first requests and notices going out this week. You can learn more about utilizing the library’s collection and the new locker pick-up service by visiting their FAQs:
- How can I find out if the CRC Library has the textbook I need for my class?
- How do I request a book or other material to borrow from the CRC Library?
- When and where can I pick up a request from the CRC Library?
The new lockers are located in the Business and Social Science building, near the south entrance.
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