Libraries open extra thanks to pioneering out-of-hours scheme

Release date: 
Friday, 5 August 2016

Following successful pilots at Woodingdean and Portslade Libraries, Brighton & Hove City Council has launched a new service called Libraries Extra. The authority is urging people to upgrade their membership card for free, giving them extra choice to visit most community libraries seven days a week, and with double the amount of hours they can be used.  

The new scheme is the first time in the UK that the technology has been used to extend Library opening hours so radically and allows Libraries Extra members to visit the library, meet friends and family, book computers and printers, and browse the stock and read. Books, CDs, and DVDs can be borrowed or returned through the self-service kiosk, and members will also be able to make cash payments.

Extra support has been put in place in all Libraries Extra schemes, so that members will still enjoy their library in safety and comfort. A dedicated phone helpline is available, as well as constant monitoring by a security company with CCTV and live audio feed, an emergency intercom, and support from volunteers on some days.

Feedback by members of the pilot schemes in Woodingdean and Portslade has been positive, with many people loving the extra flexibility around work and family life that the new scheme offers, as well as being able to read and study during quieter periods.

Would-be members can join at their local library. They will need to bring two proofs of identity and agree to new terms and conditions. Over 810 members have signed up so far.

Cllr Alan Robins, chair of the council’s economic development and culture committee said: “This pioneering scheme is a new and innovative way of providing modern library services with extra value and choice for residents and schools, despite the pressures and challenges the council faces.”

Information on library opening times and locations is available on brighton-hove.gov.uk/libraries