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Customer story

Val Parisis Media Library: A Metamorphosis with open+

In 2018, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, called for libraries to extend their hours, especially evenings, to “reduce” cultural and social divides.

Two years prior, 60% of users expressed a desire for these institutions to be open on Saturdays, and half also hoped that libraries would remain open after 6 PM.

Bibliotheca has many collaborators who have worked in libraries for many years. To meet these new expectations, Bibliotheca introduced the open+ solution, which allows library professionals to do more with the same resources.

The gap in opening hours in France is significant compared to its neighbors. The average is 21 hours a week, compared to 98 hours in Copenhagen. With this in mind, the open+ concept from Bibliotheca offers a solution to bridge it.

How open+ works

Bibliotheca open+ allows librarians to automate the opening of their facilities. It’s a solution to extend hours to reach a broader audience and thus increase attendance. Libraries can be accessible earlier, during lunch breaks, or in the evening without requiring additional staff.

With the Integrated Library System (ILS), the solution can manage access and automation (turning on lights, shutting down computers, broadcasting announcements via loudspeakers, and real-time surveillance). The solution also includes administration software to verify library access (through the implementation of allowlist and blocklist, notably).

Metamorphosis of the Library

Val Parisis is a dynamic community of municipalities located in the Val-d’Oise department, about 17 miles from Paris. Thanks to the open+ solution from Bibliotheca, it has recently redefined standards for its libraries. The implementation has allowed for a complete rethinking of library access, thus offering an extended and modern public service.

A Necessary Transformation

In 2016, with the creation of the community of agglomeration encompassing 15 cities, eight of which transferred their media libraries, Val Parisis equipped itself with a network of 9 media libraries and a bibliobus. Managing this diversity of libraries of various sizes required an innovative approach to meet the needs of the territory’s population.

The story with Bibliotheca started much earlier, with the automation of loans, which relieved the already highly demanded librarians. However, it was with the introduction of open+ that the real transformation began.

More Than Just Extended Hours

While the public reading network has been active since 2018 in extending opening hours, open+ emerged as a complete, flexible, and modern response to this growing public demand.

Implemented in two of the network’s media libraries, it allowed for bold experiments, including openings on Sundays and Mondays. Weekday hours have also been extended until 10 PM, thus offering increased accessibility to users.

Two media libraries are experimenting with the device starting October 3, 2023. Indeed, the Eclipse media library in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, inaugurated in 2019 and featuring collections on two floors, will now offer open hours until 10 PM (instead of 7 PM) from Tuesday to Saturday and from 9 AM to 10 PM on Sundays and Mondays.

The André-Malraux media library in Ermont, the project’s second key library, is currently the most frequented media library in the Val Parisis network. open+ will be offered there until 8 PM from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 AM to 8 PM on Monday, and from 9 AM to 2 PM on Sunday.

Security and Trust: Key to Success

The introduction of open+ was accompanied by intelligent integration with the community’s Urban Surveillance Center (CSU). The cameras deployed for the solution are managed in real time, thus allowing the libraries to open without staff.

Despite these unstaffed openings, the teams’ involvement remains crucial. The librarians manage public registrations and ensure the mediation of the device. A security instruction video was developed to evacuate the public in case of danger, thus highlighting the importance of security despite automation.

Expanding Services: A Promising Future

Since 2018, the Val Parisis public reading network has continued to progress toward harmonization while preserving its territorial specificities. open+ facilitates the achievement of the set goals without requiring an increase in staff.

The extended hours and flexibility offered by the solution allow users to facilitate their access to the media library. Looking to the future, Val Parisis may explore new possibilities within open+. In this approach, Bibliotheca affirms itself as an essential provider to make library spaces and services more accessible.

However, it remains important to emphasize that the open+ is a support, not a replacement for human skills. Val Parisis, through this technical collaboration, shows how innovation can radically transform libraries, placing them at the heart of modern life.

(1) These are the openings with the staff.
(2) The teams are not present.
(3) This work is carried out solely by the public reading network.

(c) photo credit Val Parisis agglomeration

open+ Val Parisis

About Bibliotheca

Bibliotheca is dedicated to the development of innovative technologies and library management solutions that help sustain and grow libraries around the world. Bibliotheca reimagines how libraries function, using integrated technology  to inspire and delight all kinds of people, wherever they are: at home, on the move, or within the library walls.

Bibliotheca employs 400 people across 21 countries, partnering with 30,000 libraries to make the library experience—physical and digital—seamless, intuitive, and inclusive.

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