Open+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.