Smart li­brary change com­ing

Loughborough Echo - - FRONT PAGE - PETE WAR­RING­TON peter.war­ring­ton@reach­plc.com

LOUGH­BOR­OUGH, Shep­shed and Birstall li­braries are among 14 in the county which are to be con­verted into ‘Smart Li­braries’.

But the move is likely to see a re­duc­tion in staffed hours at the li­braries and when work gets un­der­way at Lough­bor­ough’s li­brary later this year it will see the site closed for seven weeks, while Shep­shed’s li­brary is ex­pected to be out of ac­tion for two weeks.

Self-ac­cess tech­nol­ogy will see ex­tended open­ing hours, mean­ing peo­ple who are mem­bers of the li­brary ser­vice will be able to en­ter the li­brary and use the fa­cil­i­ties, us­ing their ac­cess card to en­ter the build­ing at times when there are no staff on site.

Book groups, and other com­mu­nity groups are also able to use the space dur­ing li­brary-plus hours. Any­one wish­ing to set up a com­mu­nity group can use the li­brary as a meet­ing space within smart li­brary hours.

The move fol­lows a trial at Sys­ton Li­brary which ran from early 2017.

Richard Blunt, county coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for li­braries, said: “To be­gin with, the self-ac­cess tech­nol­ogy will be op­er­a­tional out­side of staffed hours, but due to the de­mands on the coun­cil’s bud­gets we will be look­ing at re­duc­ing staffed hours in li­braries. De­tails on this won’t be clear un­til we’ve en­gaged with the pub­lic and de­ter­mined the open­ing ar­range­ments for each li­brary.

“Hav­ing self-ac­cess tech­nol­ogy in li­braries across Le­ices­ter­shire gives res­i­dents more choice of when they are able to visit the li­braries cater­ing for a much wider au­di­ence.

“We’ll be talk­ing to lo­cal li­brary users so that they can have their say on when self-ac­cess works best for them.”

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment will be tak­ing place at each li­brary ahead of their move to Smart Li­braries. Li­brary users will have an op­por­tu­nity to sign up to Smart Li­braries, com­ment on pro­posed staffed times and find out more about set­ting up com­mu­nity groups within the li­brary.

Lough­bor­ough Li­brary, in Granby Street.

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