Extended library service comes to King's Lynn - at last
A scheme designed to extend public library access has been rolled out to three more sites in West Norfolk.
Norfolk County Council launched its Open Library programme at 30 sites, including Dersingham, Fakenham and Swaffham, last year.
The scheme allows library members to access services outside regular opening times, without the buildings being staffed, as long as the individual user does not have a history of misusing the facilities.
Now, the programme has been expanded to 10 more locations, including Lynn, Gaywood and Hunstanton.
They were left off the initial roll-out, with officials citing concerns over how the technology would be installed there.
Margaret Dewsbury, the county council's cabinet member for communities, said: “We know the current opening times mean some residents may not be able to visit their library during the working day.
"By extending the opening hours we’re offering unprecedented access to all the vital resources our libraries offer.
“We want to make Norfolk’s libraries more accessible to a new audience, who have not traditionally used the library service because their local branch isn’t open at a time when they can visit.”
The council now hopes to have the system running at all but three of its 47 libraries by the end of this year. The programme was launched in Downham last autumn.
Since its introduction, 39,047 people have signed up to use the service, with libraries accessed 264,036 times via it.
Most branches offering the initiative open between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
The authority has insisted that the introduction of open libraries did not result in any reduction to staff numbers, though some changes had been made to the times staff work.
More by this authorDavid Hannant, Local Democracy Reporter