The move to implement self-service options and extend opening hours at Ardee Library remains on the cards, despite a delay in launching the ‘My Open Library’ scheme in the library branch in 2017.
Late last year, Ardee Library was shut for two months to faciliate major electrical upgrade work, as well as a renovation of of the main library area. This was in part to facilitate the upcoming move to provide self-service facilities.
Checkout machines were installed and a new reception area was built, while new doors and windows were also installed in the building, as well as new electronic equipment to facilitate the new services. The library reopened in January this year but as of yet, the new self-service features have not been made available nor have the opening hours extended.
ThisIsArdee.ie has learned today that the My Open Library scheme is still going ahead in Ardee and the delay has come about due to ‘technical issues’ nationally. These issues are being worked on at the moment. Louth County Libraries hope to be able to announce a launch date as soon as possible.
The new self-service facility is set to see the library extend it’s opening hours. It is set to open from 8am to 10pm seven days a week. Current staffed hours would not change, with the the new additional hours being ‘self-service’. Library members will be able to access the building and scan books using a swipe card. Additional services like photocopying, scanning and printing will also be available.
Under the new scheme, Ardee Library would be open an additional 48 hours a week on top of it’s current 36 hours a week – an increase in opening hours of 133%. Under current staffed hours, the library opens at 10am Tuesday to Saturday but under the My Open Library scheme, it will open seven-days-a-week at 8am. It will be staffed as per usual from 10am.
Currently, the library closes at 5pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 8pm on Tuesday and Thursdays. My Open Library will see the building remain available to use until 10pm seven-days-a-week. It will not close for lunch, but will not be staffed at this time.
Radio-frequency identification tags will be attached to books, which would have to be scanned at a self-service check-out prior to check-out and removal. Such facilities are available in many bigger university or college libraries, many of which have 24 hour opening.
It is hoped that the extension of opening hours through this initiative would open the library service up to many more people in Ardee. Lots miss out on the chance due to work or family commitments. The scheme would give members the freedom of flexible opening hours.
Members would be able to borrow and return items to the library as well as use facilities such as the computers, free Wi-Fi and the use of a place for study or work for longer each of the day week. Membership of all libraries in Louth is free to all.
Local councillors have previously supported the idea of Ardee Library becoming an Open Library. After three libraries in Offaly and Sligo initially took part in a pilot scheme, 23 libraries – including Ardee – were selected to be added to the scheme for 2017.