The newest vending machines in the Ross Community Center and Baierl Family YMCA do not dispense chocolate bars, soda cans or bottled water.
Instead, you can find John Grisham and DVD titles inside the NOMAD Lending Kiosks.
They're the first of their kind in Western Pennsylvania, and they are a way for Northland Public Library to reach patrons in the farthest points in its service area. NOMAD is an acronym for Northland's Offsite Modern Alternative Dispenser.
Ross's kiosk was dedicated Sunday. The one at the YMCA in Franklin Park will be dedicated at 6:30 p.m. today.
"It's pretty simple. As long as you have a library card from any library in Allegheny County, it will work," Northland director Sandra Collins said.
The kiosks work like a candy machine, with the books and DVDs stacked in a row, Ms. Collins said. "If you see something in the second row that you want, you have to check out the first one."
However, she said, you can check out the item that is first in the row, then immediately return it in the drop boxes at the two places.
The kiosks will have a selection of best-sellers, books for teens and children and DVDs, and can hold between 300 and 400 items, depending on the size of the items, Ms. Collins said.
The kiosks are a collaboration between the library and the Northland Public Library Foundation. The funds for one kiosk came from the library budget and the foundation raised money for the other one.
Ms. Collins said the kiosks, plus a drop box for the YMCA, cost approximately $60,000. The foundation gave her a check for $30,000 at the Ross dedication.
It only took the foundation a year -- from inception to installation -- to raise money for the kiosk, said Kellie Kaminski, foundation director.
"This kiosk is our pride and joy," she said.
Northland has been studying ways to increase convenience for patrons in the northern and southern parts of their 60-square-mile service area, and originally considered satellite locations in Ross and Marshall.
However, the 12-year-old Ross Community Center is filled with other activities, said Commissioner Dan DeMarco. And Ms. Kaminski said there wasn't a similar location in Marshall with "good hours."
The kiosks will operate during the same hours as their locations.
Mr. DeMarco, who served on the library board for eight years, said he would still like to see a satellite location in Ross.
"This is just the beginning of a much greater presence of the library in the future in this building," he said. "I think we'll get there."
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: email@example.com.