Council considers library options

Hume will not trial 24/7 'open libraries', instead deciding to explore other extended hour options (Unsplash).

Hume council will not trial 24 hour ‘open libraries’, instead opting to explore other options.

Council officers investigated the suitability for libraries across Hume to operate as open libraries – meaning that they would be open and accessible by the public at all hours every day.

This model of library was introduced in Europe about 15 years ago in response to a decline in staffed hours due to lack of funding, a report to council said.

The Hume officer report found that of the 49 library services in Victoria, seven open their libraries for extended unstaffed hours, with only two services offering 24-hour access libraries.

The officer report recommended that the council does not trial the open library model at this time.

Reasons included that Hume does not have any library branches that accommodate easy trialling of an open library, and that there would be upgrade costs with no budgets currently allocated to undertake the works.

Cr Carly Moore said that despite council not trialling this model, she wants the council to explore other options for more extended hour library access.

“Certainly we are very keen to make sure that our community can access our libraries – particularly those people who can’t attend in the traditional hours,” Cr Moore said.

Of the eight Hume Libraries locations, three are open extended hours each week, with the Sunbury library offering the most access hours at 68 hours per week, 352 days per year.

Oscar Parry