FAIRMONT —There’s a slight delay in the installation of the new Express Library in White Hall, according to the library director of the Marion County Public Library System.

Library director Erika Connelly said it’s taking longer to ship the machine that will vend out the Express Library’s books and other items.

“The issue now has been shipping, it’s taking longer than expected,” she said. “The longer we wait for shipping, the longer it takes to set up before install.  In reality, it has only pushed back the install date by a little over two weeks, so we’re not too worried about it.”

Connelly said the machine, which is manufactured in China, has to be shipped from overseas. She said the tariffs “have been a challenge.”

She said the machine is scheduled to be installed mid-October, and the Town of White Hall should be pouring the pad soon. 

“Unfortunately, it’s just a waiting game now,” she said.

Once installed, people will be able to walk up to the Express Library, and like a Red Box DVD machine, they will be able to take a look at the items that are available to see if anything piques their interest, according to Connelly. Then, they can scan their library card in, press the number of the slot they want, and the book will vend out to them, she said.

In addition to books, the Express Library will have DVDs, graphic novels/comic books, CDs and video games.

To be located outside under a large canopy on the corner of the new White Hall Public Safety Building property, the Express Library will allow people to go to the library without ever leaving the Town. Specifically, Connelly said it will be located on a strip of land between the public safety building and the nearby movie theater.

She said the new library will also increase convenience for readers who frequently use the library’s book hold system.

“You also can pick up your holds there. So, if someone goes online and they place holds for certain titles, they actually can specify to pick it up there and we’ll slide it in there so that when they come and scan their card, it immediately knows that they’ve got books waiting and will vend it out to them. They can actually return books here as well,” Connelly said.

Connelly noted the Express Library will operate 24/7, saying, for example, it could serve people coming home from a night shift or those who can’t sleep and want to grab a good book.

According to Connelly, the Marion County Public Library System will be the first in West Virginia to have an Express Library. It’s been five years in the making.

The up-front cost of the Express Library was $140,000, which is funded by the Library Levy. While the library system tries to be “very responsible” with its money from the organization, Connelly said it’s important to understand that the library system saved up for the Express Library over a five-year span.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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