Is it possible for a public library to be a 24/7 lending facility?
Would you like to be able to keep your library open all day, every day? It’s not a new concept – universities have offered 24-hour opening in their libraries for close to 25 years now. Despite this proving to be a very popular initiative with students, public libraries are struggling to evolve from the old-fashioned core working day, with late opening often ending as early as 6.30 pm. With just 6% of people working a traditional 9-5 day (according to a 2018 YouGov survey) making library facilities available for longer seems to fit the demand.
Funding is the obvious challenge to extending your opening hours, closely followed by security concerns, how do you improve the customer journey in your library without keeping your doors open for longer? Perhaps it’s time to look to technology for alternatives solutions to offer enhanced services for your patrons.
The COVID factor
COVID-19 has obviously impacted on opening hours and with restrictions changing in line with infection rates. Having already forced a dramatic change in the way millions of people work across the UK, will COVID-19 force change in how millions of library users borrow? We’ll take a look at COVID safe options as well as post-pandemic solutions.
Secure, 24-7 patron access to reserved items
D-Tech’s holdIT self-service reservations kiosk allows your customers to collect their reserved items at any time depending on its location. With thermostatically controlled temperature management and excellent security, items are stored in allocated lockers, accessed by customers scanning their user card and seeing the locker number on the touch screen. Just as simple for library staff to allocate lockers and load, this is an ideal solution that allows people who cannot get to the library during the normal working day.
Late returns just got a new meaning
The days of late returns meaning you’d be incurring a library fine are over! With D-Tech’s returnIT late returns are the ones you do when taking the dog for its last walk of the day, on the way home from an evening class or after a meal out with friends.
A fully automated book return system, returnIT reduces queues, frees up library staff, and allows 24/7 returns when accessible from outside of your library. Scalable, thanks to its modular design, returnIT can integrate with your automated sorting system as well as your LMS for record updating for an end-to-end process.
Fancy a satellite library?
What if you could have a second library venue, conveniently located where lots of people who may struggle to get to your main library could borrow or return books, music and films? D-Tech’s lendIT book vending machine holds up to 1000 items, which can be reserved in advance. Easy to load and empty, the vending unit can be programmed to hold items for 72 hours before becoming available to borrowers to reduce the chances of contamination.
So, where would you put it? Popular locations include hospitals, nursing and care homes, transport hubs, shopping and community centres. Making 24/7 access to media more widely accessible, lend-IT is an affordable popular solution to expanding your services.