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Book Vending Machine To Open At Train Station

Forget the chips and soda – starting soon, Scarsdale commuters will have a different kind of vending machine to order from, and it only serves brain food.

Forget the chips and soda – starting the first week of February, Scarsdale commuters will have a different kind of vending machine to order from, and it only serves books.

This new machine, located at the Scarsdale train station, can be used to borrow and drop off books on the go. It will have a "soft launch" this week, before the official unveiling.

Despite looking a little space-age, it's still run by the Scarsdale Public Library and requires a regular library card to use. 

"It's kind of like an E-ZPass," said library director Beth Bermel. "You hold your card to the front of the screen, and it reads the barcode.  Then you choose on the screen which book you want, and it'll come out of the slot, like a vending machine."

Each book will be distributed in a plastic case for protection.  Patrons will have up to three weeks to loan out a book, and must then return it to the machine in its case. 

It's a self-contained system, Bermel explained.  "We're going to have to make it clear that it's not a book drop, and that you can't bring books from the machine back to the library."

The vending machine can hold up to 400 books, although it will initially stock only 200. 

"We put in mostly best-sellers and children's books for now, but it's only half-full," Bermel said.  "We'll fill the rest of the space based on what people want."

Although she doesn't expect it to save the library much work, Bermel is still excited about the project.

"[The machine] won't take the place of the library, of course," Bermel said.  "It's just an added service.  But people seem very excited about it."

"Everybody's always reading books or newspapers on the train," said commuter Lisi McFadden, who uses the Scarsdale train station daily.  "So I think people will really appreciate something like this."

Have any questions or problems with the book machine?  Contact scarsdaleLIBX@wlsmail.org

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