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Ireland to roll out 23 more ‘staffless’ libraries

Ireland will expand its ‘staffless’ library scheme to a further 23 libraries in 2017, reports the Irish Times. Under the ‘My Open Library’ initiative, libraries will remain operating without staff outside of normal opening hours, allowing the public to access the facility from 8am to 10pm seven days a week. An initial trial run in Tullamore, Banagher and Tubbercurry libraries in November 2014 was deemed ‘successful’ by Irish minister for local government Simon Coveney, who also stated the expanded scheme would not impact the number of staffed hours or staffing levels. ‘It allows library members the freedom and flexibility to use the library at times that suit them,’ said Coverney. The roll-out is expected to cost €1.94m (A$2.75m), with the libraries to contribute €500,000 (A$708,840) and the department to pay €1.41m (A$2m). Libraries in 20 counties across Ireland have been approved-in-principle for the continued roll-out of the ‘Open Libraries’ service, although Coveney said provision and management of library services was a matter for each local authority. Dublin city councillors have voted against the introduction of the initiative into the city’s libraries. IMPACT, the public service trade union which represents public library staff, is balloting members to consider industrial action. ‘This is a downgrading of library services that dismisses the value of integrated library services and reduces a library to simply a building full of books,’ said a spokesperson for the union.


Category: Library news International