Located outside Plainfield East High School, the units are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for pickup of Library materials.
The Plainfield Public Library District, in Illinois, USA, has installed Grab & Go Lockers in northeast Plainfield to allow patrons easier access to Library materials.
“Installing self-service, off-site lockers is an extremely affordable way that we can start to address one of the challenges our district residents have regularly expressed: inconvenience in accessing the downtown Plainfield location,” said Library Director Lisa Pappas.
The Library has partnered with Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 to place the lockers outside entrance Plainfield East High School.
“District 202 has been a terrific partner,” said Pappas. “I initially contacted them in February 2020, but the pandemic put things on hold. When I approached Dr. Abrell (the superintendent of PSD202) in June, he jumped into action to make this idea a reality.”
The Grab & Go Lockers are state-of-the-art equipment. The D-Tech International unit provides space for 31 lockers, a computer kiosk and a book-return slot. If needed, additional bays with more lockers can be added easily at a later date. The lockers include a thermostatically controlled temperature management system, which means the unit can be located outdoors for 24/7 access and library items will remain safe no matter the weather. The process of utilizing the lockers is quite easy:
- Residents place items on hold in the Library’s computer system and select the lockers as the pickup location.
- When the items are ready, Library staff deliver them to a locker. Deliveries will take place once a day, Monday through Saturday.
- Residents receive instructions via phone, email or text (depending on their preferences) on how to open the assigned locker to retrieve their items. They have five days in which to retrieve the items at whatever time of day or day of the week works best within their schedules.
- The lockers also include a drop box for book returns.
The Plainfield Public Library District covers 40 square miles, the ninth largest in the Chicagoland area, but there is currently only one location in downtown Plainfield. Library staff believe these lockers will help fill a void in the Plainfield area.
“We recognize that the expansion of our Library would benefit this community, but as of now, that isn’t an option,” said Pappas. “These lockers are a viable solution until that happens.”
Pending the success of the Grab & Go Lockers at Plainfield East, Library staff has identified several areas on the edges of the Plainfield Public Library District that will be targeted for future expansion of the lockers program.
Self-service pickup lockers are a growing trend around the US as libraries look for ways to meet their residents’ convenience needs as well as provide contactless delivery of items due to the pandemic.
“All residents of the Plainfield Public Library District deserve easy access to our materials, regardless of where they live and when it fits into their busy schedules,” said Pappas. “Off-site, 24/7 access allows the Library to continue to serve the community in this new contactless reality we find ourselves in.”
More information about the Grab & Go Lockers, including a list of frequently asked questions, can be found on the Plainfield Library’s website.