The Cabot Public Library is one of the few locations in the state to have a kiosk for allowing people to become organ donors.
The kiosk, which is operated by the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA), was installed Oct. 21 at the library, at 909 W. Main St.
“Cabot Mayor Ken Kincade came to us after he had gone to the ARORA presentation in Little Rock,” said Kathleen Ashmore, director of the Cabot library. “Gov. [Asa] Hutchinson is going with an initiative to get cities involved in donor registration. The mayor wanted Cabot to get involved, and he thought the library would be a good location for that.”
Ashmore said she went through the proper channels with the Lonoke County Library Board and agreed that the library was a good location for the kiosk.
“It’s what the library is here for — to provide resources,” she said. “It’s definitely a resource that could not only benefit our area, but Arkansas in general.”
A kickoff event took place May 14 at the Central Arkansas Library System main branch in Little Rock. Hutchinson asked for cities to participate in this initiative.
Kincade said he is proud of his city for being a part of this.
“ARORA is very important to me, and I took this challenge very seriously when the governor issued it to all cities in Arkansas back in May,” Kincade said. “ARORA accepted my request, and Cabot is the first city that has been delivered a machine. I’m very proud that ARORA chose Cabot as its next stop to help increase participation in saving lives.”
Audrey Coleman, director of communications for ARORA, said the new way to sign up to be an organ donor is called swipe technology.
“It utilizes an iPad or iPhone and a person’s Arkansas driver’s license,” Coleman said. “Arkansans can simply register by holding their driver’s license beneath the scanner on the iPad or iPhone. It immediately registers them without them having to do anything else except for clicking ‘I accept.’ It just takes a couple of seconds.”
Coleman said libraries serve diverse patrons in the community, which is key for for these registration kiosks.
“We found that libraries are good places for that,” she said. “Lots of people come there with a variety of demographics. We’re fortunate to get our kiosk there.”
Coleman said it’s still a new process.
Other than Cabot, “right now, we only have one in the main library in Little Rock,” Coleman said. “We have three or four set to be installed locally. Some will be installed in Northwest Arkansas.
“It’s just like any other technology. For years and years, the only way to register to become an organ donor was at the driver’s-license bureau or by getting a paper registration form directly from ARORA. So that is how the bulk of people register in Arkansas.”
ARORA’s slogan is “Save 8. Donate.”
“It takes about eight seconds to register with that kiosk,” Coleman said. “And one organ donor can save eight lives through organ donation.”
Coleman said the eight organs that can be recovered from one donor are the heart, two lungs, two kidneys, the pancreas, the liver and the small intestine. Additionally, tissues, including the cornea or eye, bone, skin, cartilage, ligaments, veins and heart valves can be donated.
Coleman said online registration was introduced in 2010.
“It does take time for people to get used to a new method,” she said.
Coleman said she’s excited that Cabot wanted to participate in the project.
“We’re thrilled that they saw a need for it and saw that this was an opportunity to make donor registration even simpler, faster and more convenient for people,” she said. “For instance, my driver’s license is not due for renewal for seven years. This way, you don’t have to wait seven years. You just go to the kiosk, scan your driver’s license, and you’re registered.”
Coleman also said people can check to see if they are already registered.
“They can just scan their driver’s license there, and it will let them know immediately if they are already in the registry,” she said. “There’s nothing else to do.”
Ashmore said several people used the kiosk in Cabot the day it was installed.
“I’m still getting the staff together on how we keep up with how many people use it,” she said. “I don’t want to know who uses it. I do want to keep track of how often it’s used.
“[The kiosk has] had a really good reception. People are excited about it, about the opportunity to have such an easy way to register to become an organ donor.”
Coleman said more than 300 Arkansans are waiting for organ transplants, with many waiting on kidneys. The state has 64 percent of eligible people registered for donation, which ranks 17th in the nation.
The Cabot Library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call the library at (855) 572-6657.
Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.