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Forty libraries across county now open for longer

20 August 2019

More library customers than ever can now take advantage of the long summer days and light nights, with 40 libraries now offering extended opening hours since the beginning of the year.

The scheme is called Open Library, and it gives customers, partners and community groups access even when a library is unstaffed. It was rolled out in June 2018, with 30 libraries initially.

With these 10 new libraries, the overall number of hours libraries are now open to the public has increased, to 1,360 hours extra per week.

Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We know the current opening times mean some residents may not be able to visit their library during the working day. So by extending the opening hours, we’re offering unprecedented access to all the vital resources our libraries offer to people in Norfolk.

We also want to make Norfolk’s libraries more accessible to a new audience, who have not traditionally used the library service because their local branch isn’t open at a time when they can visit.”

To sign up for Open Library, people just need to talk to a member of staff who can add the access to their library card and give them a PIN number. The library user presenting their card at the scanner, and entering their PIN number on the keypad, and they will be able to enter. They can then use the computers and borrow and return books using self-service machines as they would if staff were present.

Open Library requires a full up to date library membership and users must be aged 16 or over.Children need to be accompanied by an adult during Open Library hours.

As well as offering wider access for customers, these changes offer groups and organisations the opportunity to use the facilities outside of core opening hours, to deliver their services in a safe and trusted space in the local community.

Most branches offering Open Library will be accessible during standard hours of 8am-7pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm on Saturdays, and 10am-4pm on Sundays. There will be some exceptions to these hours for certain branches, so people are encouraged to check the exact times for their local branch online.

Open Library

Library friends and community groups will also be able to use their library for regular meetings and activities, if they are not reliant on staff being available to open the library for them. 

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