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Dublin: 12°C Friday 23 April 2021

Council plotting to open Dublin libraries 14 hours a day, 365 days a year with automated system

An initial trial at Pembroke Library in Dublin 4 could be rolled out around Dublin City Council areas.

Pembroke Library will be the first to have the automated system.
Pembroke Library will be the first to have the automated system.
Image: Google Street View

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL is plotting an automated system to keep public libraries open from 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year. 

It’s put out to tender a contract worth up to €1.1 million for the development of a system called My Open Library, which will be initially rolled out at the Pembroke Library on Anglesea Road in Dublin 4.

The Pembroke Library will be the first, but the contract includes the possibility at rolling it out at a further 20 libraries in the coming years. 

Under the plans, library users will be able to go in when staff are not there and still use the facilities and check out books. 

“The library [will be] strengthened as a focal point for community engagement,” the council said. 

Typical day

libary tender

On a typical day under the planned automated system, locks will be released, equipment powered up and lighting turned on at 8am. 

In Pembroke Library, for example, it doesn’t open until 1pm on Mondays and Tuesdays currently. The new system would see staff coming on duty at the same time and the library operating as normal.

Their shifts would end at a normal time and they’d lock up private areas before they left.

At 9.40pm, a loudspeaker would alert people still in the library that it’d be closing soon. Another loudspeaker alert would sound 10 minutes later and PCs, printers and other users equipment would shut down.

When everyone is gone at 10pm, the lights would turn off, doors would lock and the security system would be activated.

How it’d work

The system will provide hardware and software to control access to the building, meeting rooms and public toilets. 

It’ll integrate with existing library cards that people use to check out books using machines already in the library.

The library user will then scan their card to gain entry to the library at certain times along with a PIN code on a keypad at the entrance. 

These keypads must be accessible with illuminated braille options, an audio option, and instructions in English and Irish.

The contract to deliver the service in Pembroke Library will run initially for a year, with an option for Dublin City Council to extend it another three years.

While it doesn’t commit to installations of the system at other libraries, the council said “delivery may be required” in areas such as Ballyfermot, Cabra, Phibsboro and Terenure over the next four years. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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