Editor’s note: The following article was corrected from the version published in the October 23 edition of The Reporter. The Cyril Ward Memorial Library is not open 24/7, but now has extended hours as an “Open Library.”
GUYSBOROUGH: Access to the Cyril Ward Memorial Library has been made more attainable and personal now that the library is open longer.
Eastern counties regional library (ECRL) received $88,000 in funding from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage on July 27, 2018 for the creation of Nova Scotia’s very first truly “Open Library.”
During the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s (MODG) regular monthly council meeting on October 16, councillor Miles MacDonald provided an update and told council the library recently had a soft opening and was now running on extended hours.
“I think that’s great, libraries are intended to be community spaces,” Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts said following the meeting. “The more the community uses them, the better it is for the library, the better it is for the municipality, and the better it is for our residents.”
As a result of the, the library is now open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 12- 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Pitts said with the extended hours, the public has better access to the library, and by swiping a library card at the door, residents have full access to the library during extended hours.
Members of the ECRL will be able to access the secure entrance which can be unlocked by scanning a library card and entering a PIN. A security system has been installed, including CCTV cameras that will record activity in the library during extended hours, and a control system that regulates the lights, announcements, and the surveillance system.
“We get to track who’s using the library, what hours, and what they’re doing,” Pitts said. “Then we get some solid numbers; do we expand, do we cutback, status-quo – libraries are community space and we have to realize that.”
ECRL is working with Bibliotheca, a German library technology company, who supplied their Open+™ system to operate the Open Library during extended hours and also supplied the self-service kiosk that will allow customers to check out and return materials without the help of library staff. There are over 500 libraries in the world that have successfully extended their service with this system since 2004.
Even though the three-year pilot project is still in its early stages, Pitts added he would certainly like to see the program enhanced.