Libraries constantly seek innovative solutions to enhance service delivery and ensure their resources are available to the broadest possible audience, especially at a time when convenience and accessibility are paramount. One such innovation that has gained popularity recently is the introduction of outdoor library lockers. These lockers represent a significant leap forward in making library materials accessible anytime, effectively extending service beyond the confines of traditional opening hours.

Understanding Outdoor Library Lockers

Outdoor library lockers are secure, automated systems designed for storing and retrieving library materials. Imagine finishing work late, missing library hours, or struggling with transportation. Outdoor lockers eliminate these barriers by offering 24/7 access to reserved materials. No more rushing during limited hours or facing closed doors! 

Located outside the library premises, these lockers enable patrons to pick up and return items at their convenience, 24/7, without the need to enter the library itself. This system offers flexibility to users with busy schedules or those unable to visit the library during regular hours. It ensures continuous access to library materials, even when it is closed.

Understanding outdoor library lockers has provided us with a solid foundation on how these innovative solutions can enhance the accessibility of library materials beyond traditional service hours. Now, let’s see how these lockers can be leveraged to maximize convenience and ensure library materials are accessible to everyone, anytime.

Features of Library Smart Lockers 

Outdoor library lockers come with various features designed to enhance user experience and streamline library operations. Each feature contributes to the system’s overall functionality and usability:

Features of Library Smart Lockers

  • Streamlined Chain of Custody: Library smart lockers ensure seamless material transit and ensure that items can be tracked with ease. 
  • Technology Integration: Enhances delivery/pickup processes, offering a smooth, efficient operation.
  • Mobile App Access: Available for iOS and Android, broadening user accessibility.
  • Customizable Design: Tailored to fit library aesthetics, offering various colors, sizes, and configurations.
  • Refrigeration Option: Ideal for temperature-sensitive materials or food distribution in community programs.
  • Enhanced Security: Protects against theft and unauthorized access, ensuring material safety.
  • Flexible Usage: Adaptable for different needs, including personal item storage and confidential deliveries.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: Offers continuous assistance for troubleshooting and queries.
  • Contactless Transactions: Minimizes physical contact, reducing health risks and adhering to public guidelines.
  • Integration and Analytics: Provides valuable insights for optimizing operations and enhancing user experience.
  • Accessibility and Modernization: Outside placement increases material access and modernizes library services.

These features underscore the role of outdoor library lockers in extending accessibility and enhancing user convenience. However, it is vital to ensure proper implementation of these valuable resources.

Installation and Implementation of Outdoor Storage Lockers in Libraries

Implementing smart outdoor lockers in libraries involves several key steps, starting with selecting the right technology and locker system that meets the library’s and its community’s specific needs. The process includes:

  • Site Selection: Choosing a secure, accessible location outside the library where the lockers will be installed. This area should be well-lit, easily accessible, and preferably under surveillance to ensure the safety of both the users and the materials.
  • Technology Integration: Ensuring the locker system integrates seamlessly with the library’s catalog and circulation system. This integration allows for real-time tracking of materials, reservations, and returns.
  • Infrastructure Requirements: Addressing the physical and technological infrastructure needed to support the lockers, such as power supply, internet connectivity, and weatherproofing to protect against environmental elements.
  • User Education and Support: Developing materials and sessions to educate library patrons on how to use the lockers, including making reservations, accessing the lockers, and troubleshooting common issues.

Case Studies in Action

Libraries worldwide are reaping the benefits of outdoor lockers. For example, the following libraries are using Smiota’s smart locker solutions to provide an enhanced experience to their members.

Check out the below video that shows how Smiota’s smart lockers are improving library operations at Evergreen State College:

Innovative solutions like library lockers offer myriad benefits to libraries, ensuring materials are more accessible than ever before.

Benefits of Library Smart Lockers

Implementing outdoor library lockers brings numerous benefits to the library itself, enhancing its service quality and operational efficiency.

Improved Service Quality

The convenience and flexibility offered by 24/7 lockers significantly enhance the user experience. Patrons appreciate the ability to access library materials on their schedule, improving overall satisfaction and loyalty. This accessibility can significantly enhance the library’s role in the community.

Hassle-Free Experience for Members

With outdoor lockers, members no longer need to worry about rushing to the library before closing time or waiting in line to pick up or return items. This hassle-free experience can lead to increased library resource usage, patron loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth, attracting new users to the library.

Attracting More Members

The availability of such a modern and convenient service can attract new members to the library. It demonstrates the library’s commitment to innovation and customer service, appealing to tech-savvy users and those with busy lifestyles. 

Community Engagement

Outdoor lockers can be a physical reminder of the library’s presence and commitment to serving the community’s needs. They can be installed in high-traffic areas for convenience, to attract non-members, and to encourage library use among a broader audience.

Increased Safety and Security

Outdoor locker systems provide patrons with a secure and safe way to collect sensitive or valuable materials without direct handovers. Especially relevant in times of health concerns, such as during a pandemic, lockers offer a contactless pickup option to help reduce the spread of illness among patrons and staff.

Cost Efficiency

While there’s an initial investment in the lockers, libraries may see a reduction in operational costs over time. Automated outdoor locker systems reduce the need for staff to manage checkouts and returns manually, potentially lowering labor costs. Additionally, the durability and low maintenance of these lockers can make them a cost-effective solution in the long term.


By reducing the need for patrons to enter the library for pickups and returns, outdoor lockers can contribute to lowering the building’s energy consumption. Reducing paper receipts and manual checkouts also aligns with green initiatives, making the library more environmentally friendly.

Efficient Use of Space and Resources

By utilizing outdoor lockers for holding and pickup services, libraries can better manage their indoor space for other purposes, such as reading areas, workshops, or additional collections. It also allows for a more efficient allocation of staff resources, as employees can focus on in-house services and programs instead of managing a busy circulation desk.


Outdoor library lockers represent a whole new approach to library service delivery, ensuring library materials are as accessible and convenient as possible for all community members. By embracing this technology, libraries can extend their reach beyond traditional boundaries, adapt to the evolving needs of their patrons, and continue to fulfill their mission in the digital age.