Libraries are built on the bedrock of equity. As one of the few public institutions designed to be used by all members of the community, they exist to provide everyone with free access to information, resources, and space. Large or small, every library’s mission is the same.
Moreover, every library faces the same fundamental challenge. Regardless of how large the collection is, how many programs the library offers, or how many 3D printers they have, the community only benefits if the library is open. Providing access is of paramount importance.
In an ideal world, libraries would be open around the clock – staffed with smiling, helpful faces. But the reality is that few, if any, libraries have budgets that can support that. Many libraries struggle to be open even a few hours every day. Often the hours they are open are only convenient for a subset of their community. Those who need library resources most – third shift workers, students, and those with transportation barriers – frequently have the least access.
Open access library technology provides a solution. Using this technology, libraries of all sizes can extend open hours beyond staffed hours to provide extended access to more members of the community. Best of all, implementing it doesn’t require a fantasy budget, putting it within reach for even small libraries.
open+ access is a comprehensive technological solution designed to complement staffed hours and provide patrons with secure, self-service library access when the library would otherwise be closed. The solution is fully customizable and can be used to provide access to the entire library or only a portion of it. Used in over 800 libraries around the world, open+ access allows libraries to:
- Offer consistent open hours: Predictable, consistent open hours reduce patron frustration, lead to more regular use, and help cement the library as a community hub.
- Serve new populations: Early morning hours appeal to seniors and young families, while extended evening hours make the library available to students and those with nontraditional schedules.
- Open every day: Stores and restaurants are open seven days a week. Meet modern expectations by offering library access every day.
- Free valuable staff time: Self-service hours can be used to allow staff time to work behind the scenes on programming or other library initiatives.
Extended access webinar
Watch on-demand a collaborative discussion with Scott County Library about using technology to extend library hours and provide extended access. Kristy Rieger shared how Scott County implemented open+ to leverage self-service periods to affordably increase access to in-library resources, maintain staffing levels, and build a strong user community that centers the library.