Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and the Licking County Library are teaming up to bring innovation to the far western side of the county. The Library will provide 24-hour public library service by placing a Library-In-A-Box (24-Hour Library/Broad Street) in the parking lot of the COTC Pataskala campus located at 8660 Broad Street, Reynoldsburg.
"When the director of the library, Babette Wofter, approached COTC about the idea, we were thrilled," said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D., "We were so pleased to be able to help the library provide this cutting-edge service to people in that part of the county."
"Many thanks to our community who passed a 1 mil operating levy in 2014 showing their support of the library," said Wofter. "This revenue, paired with grants from the Licking County Foundation, the Lindorf Foundation, the Cecil Mauger Charitable Trust and the John and Mary Alford Foundation and the support of Central Ohio Technical College have made this all possible."
The 24-Hour Library-In-A-Box uses state-of-the-art technology to power a self-service, standalone unit. It will enhance public library service to the far western side of the county and to COTC students, supplementing bookmobile services and providing access to library materials 24/7. The library will have a collection of more than 350 items including books, DVDs and audiobooks. The box also provides a Wi-Fi hotspot, a place to return items, download free digital e-books, pay overdue fees and more. Community members can select from more than eight million library items and pick up the items from the box when notified by text, email or phone. Licking County Library is the first library in Ohio to offer the 24-Hour Library™ from EnvisionWare.
"The Library-In-A-Box illustrates the strong partnership COTC has built with the community and also increases the number of ways COTC students can access materials from college and public libraries," said COTC Library Director Katie Blocksidge. "COTC students can already request books from college and university libraries around Ohio and pick them up at the front desk of the Pataskala campus; students can now also request resources using their Licking County Library cards, and pick them up at the Library-In-A-Box. It makes the Pataskala campus an even richer resource for COTC students and the surrounding community."
COTC is supporting the box by providing space for the box along the northern edge of the Pataskala campus parking lot. COTC is also providing an internet connection and electricity to the box, as well as providing the landscaping around the unit.
"Construction of the concrete pad where the box will be placed, the curbing around the box and the canopy which will protect the box from the elements is moving along well," said COTC Facilities Director Brian Boehmer. "The prominent location of the Library-In-A-Box will provide easy access for community members and COTC students."
To use the 24-Hour Library, all you need is a Licking County Library card. The touch screen instructions are very intuitive. To checkout items:
- Select "Check Out" on the touch screen
- Scan or enter your library card number
- Enter the slot number of the item you wish to checkout
- Press "Check Out" and "Done" and the item is dispensed
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration is planned with the date to be announced in the next few weeks. Library staff will be in the area at various events and on the COTC Pataskala campus over the next several weeks ready to issue library cards.
The Licking County Library has been serving Newark and Licking County since 1908. Today, there are six convenient locations, including: the Main Library in downtown Newark; Emerson R. Miller branch in west Newark; Hervey Memorial in Utica; Hebron Library; Buckeye Lake Library; and the Mary E. Babcock Library in Johnstown. A Bookmobile provides outreach services throughout Licking County.
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.