Sep 282012

By Nick Worth
The Holbrook Library has a new way to store and deliver disc-based media. The machine, known around the library as “The Vault,” was custom manufactured in Italy and works somewhat like an ATM.
The machine has the capacity to store 3,078 discs, whether DVD, Blue Ray DVD, music CD or game CD. Currently it holds 1,488 DVDs, 115 music CDs, 209 games and 24 Blue Ray DVDs.
“We’re constantly adding new discs,” said Holbrook Library Director Wendy Skevington. “We have three times more the number of music CDs in the library that we still have to add.”
She said she and Library Assistants Emily Whitehorn and Carmen Whitehorn have been preparing discs for the machine for a year. The preparation includes cataloging each disc and putting it in a special case that fits in the storage racks of the machine.
When a user activates the machine, a robotic unit moves to the desired disc and retrieves it, then issues it through a slot to the user.
In the same manner, if the user is returning a disc, the robotic unit receives the disc and stores it in the near-est empty slot, rather than a pre-designated space. The machine “remembers” where it has stored each disc by scanning its bar code.
To use the machine, the library patron first has to go online and access it at Once there, the user can reserve up to three titles.
Once at the library, all patrons have to do is scan their library card. A number keypad will appear on the machine’s touch screen and the user then enters a PIN number.
If the user already has DVDs or CDs checked out, the machine will ask for the discs to be returned before issuing new ones.
Skevington said Holbrook Library received a Library Services and Technology Act grant of $65,900 to purchase the media bank, $4,000 of which was then available to purchase some of the discs that are in the ma-chine.
The library also will loan out discs from its collection to other libraries in Navajo County. Skevington said there will always be something new in “The Vault.”
“Our collection is not static, because we’re adding discs all the time,” said Skevington. “We’ve converted all of our existing collection, and have added over 200 movie titles, and 76 Wii and PS3 games.”
Skevington said there will be a formal unveiling of the machine at a Library Showcase scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. The library staff will be there to show the media bank to the public and there will be refreshments served.

Photo by Nick Worth
Library Assistants (left to right) Carmen Whitehorn and Emily Whitehorn, and Library Director Wendy Skevington stand next to “The Vault,” the Holbrook Library’s new disc storage and delivery machine.