Combined Shape


Scott County Library: Transforming access with open+
Scott county logo

Scott County Libraries in Minnesota are redefining what it means to be a modern library in today’s fast-paced world: their patrons benefit from extended library hours, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends, making it incredibly convenient to utilize the library’s offerings and services.

Inspired by European models of library self-service and in response to community feedback, these changes are part of a larger effort to better align with the needs of Scott County residents. One of the most exciting enhancements is expanding the Extended Access program with Bibliotheca’s open+ solution, designed to offer greater autonomy to library cardholders.

Research led to open+

The Scott County Library system, an integral part of life in eight cities across the county, aspired to transform its branches into even more vibrant, accessible community hubs. The primary obstacle? The libraries were constrained by staffing and could only be open to the public during limited hours.

The inspiration came from abroad. Observing the success of self-service libraries in Europe, Scott County Library partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project to explore similar possibilities. The research was a stepping stone to implementing open+, a system enabling extended access to library facilities and services without requiring the presence of staff.

Now, the Extended Access program at Scott County allows patrons to enjoy the library’s resources from as early as 6 AM to as late as 10 PM, seven days a week, at select locations. Initially launched in just a few locations, the program will soon be available at 6 out of 7 branches, ensuring more residents can take advantage of this convenient service.

Looking Forward

The story of Scott County Library’s adoption of open+ technology underscores a broader trend in library services: adapting to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the community. And the results are great. According to Kristy Rieger, Technology Manager for Scott County Libraries, patron reaction to extended access has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We have seen an increase in usage of in-library resources. Our patrons are thrilled to have access to things like computers, study rooms, and meeting rooms. Certainly, one thing that’s really important to me as our library technology manager is that our library continues to make an impact on the digital divide, so being able to offer 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM access to a public computer with the internet and with wifi is of huge value to our community.”

Scott County Libraries are committed to providing consistent operating hours, ensuring they remain accessible and relevant to the community’s needs. These changes reflect the library’s evolution into versatile community spaces, embodying the essence of convenience and adaptability.

Watch our video highlighting the exciting transformations with open+ at Scott County Libraries. 


You may also Like

Insights & Trends