Keep­ing Peter­bor­ough lib­rar­ies open

The Gov­ern­ment spend­ing squeeze has put pres­sure on coun­cils to cut costs, whil­st still provid­ing pub­lic ser­vices. The UK has seen lib­rar­ies across the coun­try close, or put into the hands of volun­teers, redu­cing access to a much loved pub­lic resource.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil has 10 lib­rar­ies and one mobile lib­rary, val­ued by res­id­ents who not only bor­row items, but use them as a com­munity meet­ing place, a learn­ing envir­on­ment and for com­puter and inter­net access. Des­pite the pres­sure on budgets, the Coun­cil wanted a solu­tion which wouldn’t com­prom­ise on ser­vice and choice.


Open+ provides lib­rar­ies with the oppor­tun­ity to decide when they open out­side of tra­di­tion­al open­ing hours, without increas­ing staff­ing costs. By scan­ning their lib­rary card and enter­ing a pin num­ber, pat­rons can enter the lib­rary, com­plete what they need to do and then leave, all without staff being present.

Open+ also allows con­trol of oth­er ele­ments in the lib­rary such as lights, pub­lic announce­ments, PC’s, self-ser­vice kiosks and a full CCTV sur­veil­lance sys­tem for a safer envir­on­ment.


Fol­low­ing pilots in Cent­ral Lib­rary and at a smal­ler branch in Dog­sthorpe, over 1000 mem­bers have signed up to the scheme with up to 250 Open+ users at Cent­ral Lib­rary in one day. Lib­rar­ies in the city remain open, with 126 extra hours avail­able to res­id­ents.

The Open+ solu­tion has provided a per­man­ent reduc­tion in the lib­rary budget of £305,000 for a ser­vice which costs £1.5 mil­lion.