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Indiana’s First 24-Hour Library Opens In Lafayette

By Samantha Horton, IPB News | Published on in Arts and Culture, Community, Education, Statewide News
Tippecanoe County Public Library librarian Jos Hulman tests machine just before its grand opening. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)
Tippecanoe County Public Library librarian Jos Hulman tests machine just before its grand opening. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

The Tippecanoe County Public Library is trying a new device to offer materials check-out at any time of day. The library says the installed machine is the first of its kind in the state.

Library officials Wednesday unveiled a book vending machine of sorts, which can dispense books to anyone who has a library card. The device can hold approximately 340 items at a time, including books, audiobooks and movies.

Tippecanoe County Public Library librarian Jos Hulman says he believes people will be using the machine at all hours of the day.

“This is a community that’s 24/7 by way of manufacturing shifts and things like that and students may keep late night hours,” says Hulman.

Lifelong Lafayette resident Heather Zarate checked out the machine with her children.

“We visit the library multiple times a week,” she says.

However, sometimes the hours don’t match her schedule and she sees the machine being useful.

“There’s been plenty of times where I’ve wanted to run in and get a book at the library and it’s been not open yet or closed already,” says Zarate. “So I think it’s really nice and convenient.”

The late night hours may cause some safety concerns, but Hulman says several security precautions are in place and the Lafayette Police Department is nearby too.

“I think also being down the street from the police station,” he says. “We hope that that helps as the police cars; the police officers; go by back and forth as well.”

The roughly $200,000 machine is located next door to the downtown Lafayette library branch in the Red Crown Mini Museum.