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Now, even the library takes plastic

The first public computer kiosk that users can access with a swipe of a credit card will be turned on today at the San Francisco Public Library.

The first public computer kiosk that users can access with a swipe of a credit card will be turned on today at the San Francisco Public Library.

Developed by USA Technologies around a Dell Computer PC and Windows 95, the C3X kiosk lets library patrons access the Internet or use a variety of applications such as Microsoft Office Pro, according to Keith Sterling, executive vice president of USA Technologies.

C3X accepts American Express, Visa, and Master Card, and charges 10 cents per minute for computer use and 15 cents per minute for Internet access, as well as offering printing for 15 cents a page. "The billing process basically compares to the process at an automated gas pump and generates a receipt for you and will appear on your monthly statement," Sterling said.

The system also uses interactive voice technology. "If you put in the wrong credit card, the machine will say, 'I'm sorry I need another card,'" he said.

USA Technologies also plans to supply the library with credit card-activated fax machines, copiers, and vending machines.