“The Voice” gets a bit spooky — and is worth a visit during Halloween week
by Laura Weisskopf Bleill
Things are a little ghoulish at the Champaign Public Library this week, including the very popular library book drop getting a bit — well — spooky.
We were warned back in January, when we first wrote about the new voice that had taken over the Champaign Public Library main automated book return. At that time we learned that the voice “could change.”
Little did we know that the CPL librarians had a few tricks up their sleeve this Halloween, including having some fun with patrons who are returning materials via the automated book drop at the Healey Street side of the library. It’s definitely in the holiday spirit.
One customer reported, ” I wanted to let you know that there must be something needing oil in the door to the book return. It was squeaking so loudly, it may have been sabotaged. I even heard people laughing maniacally as the books disappeared on the belt, leading me to believe it was intentional.”
If you need a smile or two this week, drive by (or even walk up to) the book drop. You don’t even need to have any materials to return to get into the spirit.
The library has gone all out to celebrate the holiday with book giveaways, “scary” stories, and more (see below). We also hear that some library staff members may be in costume on Oct. 29-31.
OCT 25–31 · Halloween Booktacular Giveaway @ Main Library & Douglass Branch – kids can choose one free book to bring home. Halloween and autumn-themed books will be available.
OCT 28 · Artsy Smartsy Kids, pick up your kit @ Main Library
OCT 30 · Scary Story Marathon, 10 am, broadcast live on Facebook & YouTube
For those not familiar with the book drop, the Champaign Public Library uses an automated system that puts the books on a conveyor belt and takes the books to a system where they are sorted by bar code.
Late in 2020, the library’s book return system underwent maintenance, and patrons were told that the return was temporarily closed for a conveyor system upgrade. This went down during a few weeks in mid-December. In the process, the voice of the system changed, which caused quite a stir in early January when the book drop re-opened for business.
Here’s a video we captured of the spooky book drop. (Make sure to follow us on Instagram for more family-fun takes on life in Champaign-Urbana and beyond.)
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