Abu Dhabi: Soon they will dot the emirate's landscape. Filled with books of all languages and genres, the ‘lending dispenser' machines will provide residents with the opportunity to borrow books any time.
"We wanted to provide members of the public with an easier access to our extensive collection … there are several branches open in the capital and we plan to add new branches across Abu Dhabi in the near future," said Salem Na'el Salama, Library Management System Engineer at the National Library.
The library is under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Tourism.
The book dispensing machines, which are the first of their kind in the UAE, will be located in various areas which do not have access to literary resources and will include between 150-250 books.
The initiative was launched at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which concludes today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
"We began working on it a year and a half ago… Everything is in place to begin distributing these machines, which are manufactured in Italy. We are just finalising certain details and, hopefully, they will soon become operational for book lovers," Salama said.
To use the dispenser, members of the public must insert a membership card into the machine before keying in the numerical combination for a book of their choice.
Members can initially borrow three books, but some members, such as university students, can withdraw more depending on their requirements.
"They use a radio frequency identification system, similar to Salik, which scans each book to ensure that the correct one is dispensed when chosen. The system also scans each book being returned in the book dispenser," Salama said.
"Members will be notified by email how long they can keep a book and if they are late [in returning it], and what the penalties are," he added.
Those interested in signing up for the book lending system can approach any of the National Library's branches or apply online.
"To register, people must produce any form of identification in addition to a refundable Dh400 deposit. They will then be informed once their cards are ready for collection," Salama said.
"While members of the public can begin the registration process online, it is actually recommended that they visit one of our branches to streamline the process.
"Our main branch is located on Muroor Road, opposite the main bus station," he added.