15/11/2019

My Open Library Service To Be Rolled Out To 17 Further Branches

Funding of almost €1.5 million has been announced to support the continued roll-out of the My Open Library service to 17 further branches, by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring.

My Open Library allows access to public libraries on a self-service basis from 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year. The Department funding will be matched by local authorities to the value of c.€0.5 million giving a total investment of almost €2 million.

The public libraries strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities aims to introduce the My Open Library service to 100 library branches around the country by 2022. The My Open Library service is currently available in 15 public libraries with a further three due to open before the end of the year.

The service offers extended opening hours to library members including:

• Opening hours of 8am – 10pm, 365 days per year.

• Automated access to the branch for library members via membership card and pin code during unstaffed hours.

• Provision of self-service activities including, but not limited to:

issue and return of books and other library stock,

• internet access on PCs,

• use of wi-fi,

• printing and photocopying,

• study/reading spaces, and

• meeting facilities.

The service is available to library members aged 16 years and over (under 18 years with parental consent).

Announcing the funding the Minister said: "The My Open Library service has been an amazing success. It is an exciting development and is transforming our libraries. I am delighted to provide this funding which will see a further 17 branches enabled to provide the service.

"The My Open Library service extends the availability of library services to customers at times that suit them best, providing greater flexibility and convenience through increased opening hours in addition to the invaluable staffed hours.

"It has facilitated increased access for students to study from early in the morning to late at night; families with working parents; commuters; people up-skilling; and community groups to use the meeting room facilities."

The Minister continued: "Included in this funding package is funding for innovative technology including 22 'Magic Tables' which have been piloted across the country over the last year and have been a great success. These tables are being used by carers and people with dementia, autism and learning difficulties and I have seen first-hand the joy they bring to people using them.

"My Open Library is one of a number of initiatives I have introduced to increase usage of our libraries which are a fantastic and free community resource. I have also abolished library fines in an effort to remove any barriers to people using the library service."

Minister Ring thanked the library staff in the existing My Open Library branches. He said: "The My Open Library service that is being provided would not have been such a success without the cooperation and commitment of the staff in these libraries. The staff as well as the users, are to be complimented for its success. I would encourage more local authorities to endorse and become involved in this initiative, to the benefit of their customers and the communities they serve."

(MH/CM)

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