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FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Public Library had a grand opening celebration for its newest “branch” a micro library at the South Middlesex Opportunity Council’s Framingham Community & Cultural Center in South Framingham yesterday, January 13.

The Framingham Public Library book locker is the first of its kind installed in the City of Framingham.

The “micro library” is designed to extend the coverage and accessibility of the library to a segment of the population.

This time the installation was specifically for kids and adults who use the SMOC Center.

The book locker is a convenient, self-service machine which allows users to browse up to a dozen books to check out, return books, and even pick up holds of library materials.

Users scan their library cards to access materials, explained Framingham Librarian Emily Toombs.

The machine translates into scores of languages.

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The SMOC book locker was wrapped in the the same colors of the Framingham Bookmobile, the Framingham Public Library’s third branch, essentially.

Bookmobile Librarian Toombs selected books and placed them into the slots on Friday afternoon, just before the SMOC students arrived at the Center.

Library Director Lena Kilburn said the book locker is the first to be installed outside of library property in the Minutemen Library Network.

She said several libraries in the Commonwealth have book lockers on site, but this is the first one not at a library site.

The SMOC book locker is indoors.

Manufacturers have outdoor versions.

The manufacturer of the book locker suggested placing them where people natural congregate.

Kilburn said she wants to explore the idea of installing a couple outdoor one in the City of Framingham.

One location Kilburn said she would like to investigate and research is the MBTA Commuter Rail station in downtown Framingham.

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Library Trustees Leslie White Harvey and Isabella Petroni stopped by the 3-hour SMOC event yesterday.

“It would be great to have book lockers available at several locations throughout the City so that residents can access materials when it is convenient to them. Many of our residents work second or third shifts and don’t always have the ability to get to the library when the library is open,” said Trustee Petroni, who chairs the library’s equity and access subcommittee. “Plus a book locker could allow people to select an item or pick up a hold after hours or on holidays. This to me is just the beginning of possibilities for the book locker.”

The book locker can be used as a compliment to staff hours not to replace staff, said one of the manufacturers.

The cost of a these book lockers is not cheap, as it is an electronic machine.

The outdoor ones are even more expensive, said Kilburn.

“Having this book locker here, brings the library to the kids at this Center,” said Assistant Library Director Dawn Dellasanta.

“And it is not just books, that can go in the locker, but CDs, movies, and all the other materials the library has to offer,” said Kilburn.

Thus, the new book locker has essentially created a fourth library in the City for some residents, to go along with the main library, the Christa McAuliffe branch, and the bookmobile.

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In full transparency, the editor of SOURCE serves on the Framingham Public Library Foundation Board. The editor’s daughter is an elected Library trustee. One of 12 Trustees.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.