THE Foster Library is now open all day and night to its many member users and borrowers – but only if they hold their own special 24-hour access key tag.
West Gippsland Libraries strategic communications manager Shaun Inguanzo said more than 25 library members had already applied for a key tag, with most approved and active while others are yet to complete their access induction.
“Feedback about the new 24-hour access has been great – people are telling us they love the flexibility to come and go as they please,” Mr Inguanzo said.
“Most people are accessing the library between 9 am and 5 pm on the days we are closed, or in the mornings and evenings either side of staffed hours on other days,” he said.
“There have been no visits beyond 7pm as yet, however overall it is fascinating to see how people are using the extended access to date.”
The Foster Library is the first public library in Victoria to offer around-the-clock entry to its patrons.
Parkes Shire Council in New South Wales introduced the first Australian 24-hour public library service at Tullamore in September 2016 and then extended the service to Trundle Library in December 2018.
“You never quite know how it will work when you introduce something that’s new,” Mr Inguanzo said.
“We’re very happy with the way people have embraced the 24-hour access to the Foster Library and we look forward to more and more patrons applying for key tags.”
Among the Foster Library’s initial key tag holders are workers whose jobs take them a long way from town, teachers and students, business people looking for a quiet place to work and those seeking reliable free WiFi.
There are also a few who simply like the idea of being able to visit the library whenever they want, regardless of the time!
Single and family 24-hour access memberships are available and application forms may be found at the Foster Library and on West Gippsland Libraries’ website at www.wgrlc.vic.gov.au in the News section.
Applicants must first be members of West Gippsland Libraries before lodging their 24-hour access forms during staffed hours at the Foster Library, along with a $30 joining fee.
Approved applicants will be issued with their activated key tags after completing a short building and safety induction. They will also be shown how to use the key tag to let themselves into and out of the library.
Patrons may pick up held items, browse the library’s book, film and music collections and borrow materials using the library’s also-new electronic self-checkout scanner.
They may read, study, meditate … all under the watchful eye of 24-hour seven-day closed circuit security television.
Mr Inguanzo said regular library membership regulations and patron behaviour guidelines apply at all times.
“Everyone who applies for 24-hour access must agree to abide by a list of conditions, including not sharing their key tag with anyone else, not allowing people to tail-gate them into or out of the library, and being respectful towards the library and its collections and towards other patrons,” he said..
“West Gippsland Libraries is proud to be able to offer this unique service at the Foster Library and we are glad about the good reception it has received so far.
“We also recently extended the library’s opening hours, so patrons may call in and speak to one of our library staff in person for friendly and knowledgeable help, guidance and suggestions.”The Foster Library is open from 10 am to 4.30 pm on Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday, from 10 am to 4.30 pm on Thursday, from 10 am to 5 pm on Friday and from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday.