So many aspects of life are becoming self service. Yesterday I checked out my own groceries at a self-service till and received new eye glasses, that I picked out online after measuring my own pupil distance, in the mail and even in my job I work for a website that helps people search for their own books. What about a self service library?
This morning on the Brave New World blog I see that some cities are playing with this concept. In Seoul they have an automated library book dispenser and in St. Paul they have opened a branch where members collect books they have pre-ordered from book lockers.
I think these are both innovative ways for libraries to stretch their budgets, extend hours, and make their books available to more people. However I am sure you will agree that a self service library can NOT replace one with a skilled librarian for a patrons needs. Just like in the grocery store, I love the self-service tills when I want to quickly escape with milk and a loaf of bread but I learned the hard way to never try and self-check out a full cart.