Have you ever gotten to the train station and discovered that you forgot to bring a book to read on your morning commute? Well if your commute starts at BART's Pittsburg-Bay Point station, that will soon be no problem. Simply go to the library book vending machine and check out any one of 400 titles available. The Contra Costa County library system, with grants from the California State Library and the Bay Area Library and Information System, will be installing Bokomaten book vending machines -- made by Distec AB of Sweden -- in three area BART stations. Hold your library card up to the machine to allow it to scan the barcode, browse through the inventory of titles displayed on the screen, select your book and about 20 seconds later out pops a real hard-copy volume in a plastic case which you then return to your local Contra Costa County branch library before the end of the three week loan period. See the machine in action: search for "Bokomaten" at http://www.youtube.com.
Thanks to S.D. Tannenbaum for the heads-up.
Photo courtesy San Jose Mercury News.