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Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Crimson Cash Gap Closed by Lamont Vending Machine

vending machine

A new vending machine in the foyer of Lamont Library offers pre-paid Crimson Cash cards, as well as study supplies.

January 22, 2010 – Visiting researchers and international students who experience problems adding value to their Crimson Cash accounts now have a central, easily-accessible location where they can purchase pre-paid Crimson Cash cards – Lamont Library, where a new vending machine carries the cards, along with more than a dozen other items researchers and students may need, such as pens, notebooks, flash drives, headphones and blank CDs.  

Recently installed in the foyer of Lamont’s main entrance, the idea for the new machine came from Access Services staff, who noticed that the Crimson Cash system didn’t seem to work for some researchers, particularly those from overseas, said Cheryl McGrath, Head of Widener Library Access Services.  

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“We brought the idea to HCL Operations, and asked if we could add pre-paid Crimson Cash cards to an existing vending machine,” McGrath said.

The idea quickly evolved into a stand-alone vending machine, stocked with items students might need while studying, which was installed in the library’s foyer during the January recess. Lamont was chosen as a location for the machine, said Paul Bellenoit, Harvard College Library Director of Operations and Security, to allow anyone to purchase items without having to enter the library. Like other vending machines in libraries managed by HCL Operations, the item prices are set by the vending company, not the library

“Our vending contractor modified a snack machine to dispense the items,” Bellenoit said. “We will provide the vendor with pre-paid Crimson Cash cards, which they will stock in the machine.”  

Additional items could be added to the machine depending on the demand, McGrath said. To suggest items for the machine, students and researchers are encouraged to contact Access Services staff assistant Nicola Mantzaris.

“This is a pilot program right now,” McGrath said. “It’s a work in progress, so we’re open to suggestions.”