Over the past several years, the role of libraries has shifted. Though circulation is still very important, thriving libraries are no longer exclusively concerned with lending materials, and instead have become community hubs and learning spaces. The role of library staff has shifted as well, away from transactional relationships and towards transformative relationships.
Bibliotheca’s open+ access is a comprehensive technological solution that offers libraries the flexibility to extend access to library materials and spaces beyond staffed hours. So, what happens when a library implements open+ access and allows patrons to use the library while it is unstaffed? The answer is surprising.
Many worry that a solution like open+ will diminish the importance of library staff, essentially replacing people with technology. However, libraries using open+ report something quite different.
As libraries extend hours with open+, they see more, not fewer, visits during traditional staffed hours. open+ allows libraries to offer consistent open hours, regardless of staff availability, and this reliability helps cement the library as valuable go-to community resource. Some libraries, such as Gwinnett County Public Library which used open+ access to add 39 additional open hours per week, have noticed an increase in the number of visits during staffed hours after implementing the solution.
The Rule of 7 is a marketing touchstone that states people must be exposed to a piece of information seven times before they will take action on it. With more time inside the library, visitors have more opportunities to learn about library offerings. This additional exposure has led to 300% increase in program attendance at Hamilton Public Library in Ontario.
Far from reducing the importance of library staff, or cutting staff hours, the extended library access offered by open+ helps libraries focus on building the transformational relationships modern libraries need to stay relevant to communities today.