Providing equitable access for rural communities with open+
Hamilton, Ontario is a Canadian port city on the westernmost tip of Lake Ontario. Part of the Golden Horseshoe, Hamilton is among the largest cities in Ontario, and home to 700,000 residents. The Hamilton Public Library operates 22 branches across 439 square miles. Like many large library systems, Hamilton Public Library operates branches in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Though large branches in the heart of the city serve tens of thousands of customers, the smaller rural library branches serve just a fraction of that number. Freelton, the northernmost branch in the system, serves a community of just 2,500. Maintaining a branch that serves such a small percentage of the population is challenging. Read below to discover how HPL overcame this challenge.
User stories and interviews with leadership
“We’ve had to close a number of rural branches in the last 15 years. But if we can increase a branch’s use to the community in a fiscally responsible way, it becomes an antidote to having to shut them. In fact, it provides the opportunity to look at opening new branches because the equation is now very different."