Self-service is starting in six Wokingham Borough Council libraries from 3 April, to make it easier for people to check-out and return their items and free up valuable staff time so these libraries can open an extra 17.5 hours per week combined.
Self-service kiosks will be at Wokingham, Woodley, Lower Earley, Twyford, Finchampstead and Winnersh libraries. Their new opening hours will be available at each of them, on the borough council’s website, and included in the next libraries what’s on guide.
The changes have been designed to build on the success of Wokingham libraries which have bucked the national trend by enjoying an increase in the number of people using them. Last year they received more than 470,000 visits, and this figure is expected to be met or exceeded in 2017.
As well as offering traditional library services, they also offer other Wokingham Borough Council services, employability support for young people, and a wide range of events for adults and children.
The borough council’s new Library Offer, agreed last summer, wants to build on the success of the borough’s libraries by creating and promoting activities residents expect when using them. The ambition is for local libraries to continue being welcoming and vibrant places people are drawn to. They will be flexible and adaptable in their space and their uses, aligning with other provision in their areas.
Staff will still be on hand to help people get used to self-service, or for those who prefer face-to-face.
Some of the larger libraries must close for a few days to install the self-service kiosks and new counters:
- Lower Earley – closes Wednesday 1 March and reopens Thursday 9 March
- Woodley – closes Wednesday 8 March and reopens Wednesday 15 March
- Wokingham – closes Wednesday 15 March and reopens Wednesday 22 March
Twyford, Finchampstead and Winnersh libraries won’t need to close for the changes to happen. The changes at Winnersh Library are earmarked for half-term to avoid any disruption to school activities.
“These changes aim to improve our services to residents, give people more choice about how they use them,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for resident services.
“It also means they can open for longer at a time when many other local authorities are reducing their library services.”
The Elevate Employment and Skills Hub on the ground floor of the Wokingham Library will still be open during the brief closure with advice, guidance and support for people looking for work or training: For appointments call (0118) 974 6900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you cannot return an item because your regular library is closed, and you are unable to visit an alternative branch, you will get extra time on your loan. You can also renew your books online, which will be available as normal during this period. If you cannot renew online or make it to a library, you can phone one or email: email@example.com.
Events already due to take place when the libraries are closed will be cancelled, rescheduled, or moved to a different venue; although some will still continue on the ground floor of Wokingham Library. Please check with the library service to find out more.
When the libraries reopen they will offer a new range of self-service facilities alongside those services people are used to seeing.
Find out what children's events are happening at the libraries this Easter.