An ’open libraries’ initiative will begin on a pilot basis in May 2014, to run for one year in six library branches. Staff hours and levels will not change from the present levels during this pilot, when access to the libraries concerned will be from 8am to 10pm. Research undertaken by the Local Government Management Agency on similar initiatives in other countries has informed the development of this initiative. Significant additional costs are not involved in this initiative. A range of developments already underway in libraries – such as the introduction of self–service technology - support the implementation of open libraries. I very much support this initiative which has had positive outcomes in other countries. It has considerable potential to enhance the already excellent services offered through libraries and make them more accessible to the public.
I recognise that we will continue to depend on the expertise of our library staff to plan and deliver these services.