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Bonney Lake Library reopens with a new self checkout system

By Brian Beckley

The Courier-Herald

Kristen Schoengarth's one word reaction to the new express checkout station at the Bonney Lake Library was almost exactly what librarians had hoped for.

"KEW-al!" the 8-year-old said after her first chance at the new machines.

Kristen and her mother, Janet, were two of the many patrons to return to the library on its first day open following a two-week remodel.

In the middle of the library - right past the new "books to go" rack - are the express checkout stations, modeled after similar self-checkout stations at local stores.

According to Branch Supervisor Linda Case, the machines are not there to prevent interaction with staff, but to free up the workers to better serve the needs of library visitors.

"It allows the patrons to do the easy stuff...and puts the staff out on the floor to answer questions," she said.

Shari Duffin of Bonney Lake said the new express checkout was "very easy" to use.

"I like the self-checkout things at Fred Meyer and such, so I knew I would like these," she said.

Duffin added that the machines will make it quicker for library users, especially when the line starts to get long.

Case said that is exactly what was hoped for. She said she had noticed people would not wait through lines to ask questions of the staff.

"Now, when a person comes in, they'll find a staff person right away," she said.

Though the express checkout is the biggest addition to the library, it is not the only one. The new "books to go" rack of trade paperback books features "new, high-demand books," according to Case.

The area is designed to be a browsing collection and features multiple copies of each book.

"People say 'Oh, Harry Potter! I've been meaning to read that,'" Case said of the display.

Duffin, who checked out two of the rack's books, though she admitted she probably wouldn't have gone looking through the stacks for them, said the shelf makes the library "more like a bookstore."

A new release wall has also been added to the front of the building, featuring books, CDs, DVDs and videos from a collection that rotates among each branch of the Pierce County Library System.

"If people use the Bonney Lake Library all the time...they can count on coming to this wall and seeing things they probably haven't seen before," Case said.

The library's children's section also has been enlarged and a new seating area with a sofa has been added. Seating has been added to the teen and large print sections, all part of an attempt to make the library more of a destination point.

"We knew we wanted to make the library more of a gathering place," Case said.

Brian Beckley can be reached at bbeckley@courierherald.com.

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