The humble library card has been transformed into an after-hours key allowing entry for more than 100,000 members to Lambton Library.
Using technology that has only just arrived in Australia, the facility will become Newcastle’s first to offer residents access seven days a week even when their visit is outside of staffed hours.
The library will re-open to the public this weekend following an extensive renovation that has delivered modern and accessible facilities while also returning the building’s original heritage character to the front façade.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said enhanced community access follows the installation of OPEN+ technology.
“We know the local community loves the nostalgia that comes with visiting Lambton’s quaint neighbourhood library,” she explained.
“However, prior to its closure during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, the facility was open just two days each week.
“Thanks to an innovative new service model, we’ve transformed Lambton Library into a modern and accessible community space to welcome members from 7am to 9pm seven days a week.
“The improved service will allow them to borrow and return books, use public computers and free Wi-Fi, and access meeting spaces simply by using their library membership during the extended hours of operation.”
Saturday 18 March’s family-friendly event will offer children’s activities including story time, craft, giant games and a scavenger hunt, as well as Lambton Local History sessions.
The OPEN+ technology will enable members to use their library membership number and barcode to access Lambton Library and an onsite CCTV system will maintain the safety of patrons during accessible hours.
In addition, a library staff member will be onsite Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays between 2pm and 4pm to assist members and manage the collection.
The installation of OPEN+ technology at Lambton Library is an objective of the Library Strategy 2019-2029 and was made possible by City of Newcastle’s Smart City program, while funding from a State Library of NSW Local Priority Grant supported the internal fit-out.
During the library’s closure period, council also completed a restoration of the library’s front façade and entrance to the building including reinstatement of the original bullnose verandah and heritage details.
Lambton Residents Group supported and advocated for the restoration of library,
Member and community historian Robert Watson said the organisation was pleased to have greater access to the much-loved community facility.
“Lambton Library holds great historical significance within our community and it’s fantastic to see the beautiful building’s heritage façade reflect its original style ahead of re-opening,” he stated.
“Additionally, the innovative technology will allow not only Lambton Residents Group, but all library members, to benefit from free access to a wonderful community space for meetings, work and study or just a quiet place to seek refuge with a great read.”
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