The Pioneer Library System has debuted a pair of new service points for library service in Norman.
Readers on the east side of Norman are benefitting from a state-of-the-art facility that is the first of its type in operation in the United States. The 24-Hour library, operated by the Pioneer Library System, began service in late October. The facility is located on the campus of Irving Middle School and the Irving Recreation Center, 125 Vicksburg Ave.
The 24-Hour-Library is a self-service, standalone unit, similar to the library system’s Movie Boxes but much larger. It will hold about 400 items and will be available for books, movies and items on hold, and can be used for check-ins and checkouts.
The facility, produced by Envisionware, is in use in several places worldwide, including hundreds of units throughout China. It is located on the north end of the Irving campus.
Dignitaries from around the city, state and even the world gathered for the official Norman Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting for the facility Oct. 29.
“What you see here is an innovation, not just the first of its kind in the United States but in North America,” said Michael J. Monk, Chief Executive Officer for EnvisionWare.
Monk praised the leadership of Pioneer Library System Assistant Director Lisa Wells on the project, as well as the passion and talents of the entire library staff.
“This is a very professional group of librarians in this library system,” he said.
Due to its location, the project required collaboration between the library system, the City of Norman and the Norman Public Schools.
“After talking to the city of Norman and looking at population data and density of library customers, we determined that Irving would be a great possibility,” Pioneer Library System Director Anne Masters said.
The Pioneer Library System also opened the doors on Norman Public Library West, at 300 Norman Center Court, on Nov. 1, with a ribbon cutting attended by several dozen dignitaries from across the city and library system area, as well as city, state and county representatives.
The building features nearly 7,000 square feet of dedicated library space that includes all the amenities of the library system’s branch libraries, including books, DVDs, computers and Wi-Fi service. The building also will house the administrative offices for the Pioneer Library System, which offers library service throughout Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.
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An additional 24-Hour Library will be located outside Norman Public Library West as well.
Guests at each of the ribbon cuttings also signed posters for the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association.
The posters will be sent to ALA and later taken to ALA’s legislative day in May in Washington D.C., where they will be presented along with hundreds of others from across the country.
The library system’s central point for services in Norman continues to be the downtown facility at 225 N. Webster Ave.
“Last year more than 580,000 people visited the downtown Norman Public Library,” said Mayor Cindy Rosenthal. “And I believe as Norman and the Pioneer Library System offer more library services, more people will take advantage of them, and the number of library customers and library transactions will increase.”
Anyone who lives, works, attends school or owns property in the library system’s three-county area is eligible to have a library card free of charge for themselves and their immediate family.
That means that wherever they live or come to the library, they have access not just to the public computers and materials under that roof, but anything in Pioneer’s collection of more than 750,000 books, DVDs, periodicals and downloadable items as part of its collection. PLS transfers items between its libraries six days a week to quickly get a reader what they are seeking.