The Biblio-Mat is a random book dispenser built by Craig Small for The Monkey’s Paw, an idiosyncratic antiquarian bookshop in Toronto. Biblio-Mat books, which vary widely in size and subject matter, cost two dollars.
The machine was conceived as an artful alternative to the ubiquitous and often ignored discount sidewalk bin. When a customer puts coins into it, the Biblio-Mat dramatically whirrs and vibrates as the machine is set in motion.
The ring of an old telephone bell enhances the thrill when the customer’s mystery book is delivered with a satisfying clunk into the receptacle below.
A Chicago-area woman wanted to return an overdue copy of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” to the Chicago Public Library, but first she wanted to be sure she wouldn’t go to jail.
That’s because the book, a rare limited edition of the Oscar Wilde novel, was checked out in 1934. Harlean Hoffman Vision found it in her late mother’s possessions, with a Chicago Public Library stamp.
The library is conducting a rare three-week amnesty program for overdue items, and Vision figured this was her chance to return the book, said Ruth Lednicer, the library’s marketing director. The books was returned Thursday.