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Self-serve libraries open more days, longer hours

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A library with no librarians – what the Dickens! 

Such is the case at Lake Mac Libraries now that the city’s book hubs are becoming self-serve. 

With just a library card, and minimal training, members can help themselves to book loans and other borrowing items, seven days a week between 7am and 7pm. 

Cardiff Library, kuram, Speers Point Library, milyaba, and Wangi Wangi Library Creative Hub, wanji wanji, are already equipped with technology allowing registered users to come and go as they please. 

This includes times when the branch itself is closed and there is no staff on-site. 

Lake Macquarie City Council coordinator cultural experiences Martin Payne said the changes are being introduced after requests for more flexibility. 

“Feedback from customers, staff and other stakeholders suggested traditional library hours no longer suited some people,” he explained.  

“Self-access is all about providing flexibility for our users, giving them access to our resources before or after work, when they need it most.” 

To qualify for the service, registered library users aged over 18 complete a simple induction. 

Children can accompany registered parents to all three branches.  

At Wangi Wangi, youths aged 12-17 can apply for their own access. 

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“Registered users can stay as long as they like and can use our full suite of library services, including borrowing, browsing, collecting reservations, and using computers, printers and photocopiers,” Mr Payne said. 

“CCTV monitoring is in place to ensure the safety of library visitors and the security of stock and equipment.” 

“We’ve had this service in place at Wangi Wangi since July 2021, and its success demonstrated the benefit of rolling it out to other branches.” 

Lake Mac Libraries customers borrowed almost one million items in the past financial year – up 6% on the previous 12 months. 

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said the new service would not affect staffed library hours. 

“Self-access hours are in addition to regular hours at these facilities, so staffed hours remain unchanged,” she said. 

“Our libraries are a wonderful and much-loved community resource, and I am so happy to see initiatives like this in place to let even more people discover and enjoy them.” 

The project is funded by the NSW Government, with assistance from the State Library of NSW. 

Go to library.lakemac.com.au for more information and to register for a self-access induction session. 

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