By May King-Ittupp
In an era of increasing library automation and decreasing budgets, it was bound to happen.
El Dorado County’s head librarian Jeanne Amos announced April 1 that retiring El Dorado Hills librarian Susan Covington will be replaced with “Suzie,” a robotic information kiosk, located at the entrance where thousands of El Dorado Hills families have grown accustomed to Covington’s often harried but always gracious presence.
Covington will spend her day on the job having her congenial facial gestures scanned and soothing vocal tones programmed into the apparatus.
“Suzie” will automatically scan each visitors’ library card, greet them by name in Covington’s voice and suggest reading material based on their recent library activity.
In a recent test with Village Life editor Noel Stack, Suzie suggested, “10 ways to overcome your shopping addiction,” “Your sheepdog and you” and “How to supervise difficult people,” demonstrating that it really does work.
Amos was sold on Suzie’s ability to sense the ambient noise level and, at prescribed decibel count, put a digital finger to her lips and issue a curt “SHHHHH” with a disapproving expression, “That’s something we could never get Susan to do,” said Amos.