by Great Western Dragon
The Shenzhen Public Library in Southern China co-developed and patented a new automated library machine that not only lends books, but issues cards as well. The machine is meant to be a twenty-four hour access to the library's collection and holds around 400 books on a multilayer conveyor belt. The books, stored behind glass, allow patrons to browse, make their selection, receive their book, and then return it to the machine when they're done.
Patrons also have the ability to reserve items through the library's OPAC or the machine itself. Once the item is ready, the patron gets a text message on their phone and the book is sent to the machine closest to the patron.
The scariest thing about this is the price, or rather the lack of price. The machine only costs a little over US$57,000.