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Greater Norwich Growth Board

Jobs, homes and prosperity for local people


Norwich Libraries Self Service Improvements

NR1, NR3, NR4

This project introduced self-service technology at 3 of the libraries in Norwich City, namely Earlham, Mile Cross and Plumstead Road, which enables people to use the library outside of staffed opening times. The technology allows the library service to automatically control and monitor building access, self-service kiosks, public access computers, lighting, alarms, public announcements and customer safety.

This project allowed the libraries increase their opening hours, making access to the library more convenient for current and new customers without an increase in staff costs.  This project offered a great opportunity for libraries to be accessible and relevant to more people.

The project also provided customer toilet facilities at Earlham Library and off-road car and bike parking (including disabled parking) for customers using Plumstead Road Library. Toilet facilities and convenient car parking are key customer requirements when they choose which libraries to use.

 The GNGB funded this project as it offered clear potential to provide additional access to community facilities for residents of Greater Norwich. The project had significant benefits:

  • Increase of opening hours at:
    • Plumstead Road, by 133% from 29.5 to 69 per week
    • Earlham, by 44% from 48 to 69 per week
    • Mile Cross, by 123% from 31 to 69 per week
    • Halted a decline in numbers of loans
    • The effect of the new car park at Plumstead Rd, combined with Open Library increased visitor numbers by 27% over the following summer.
    • Improvement in library usage across demographic groups, including Aspiring Homemakers.
    • 93% of local library customers felt the scheme was useful

Since the project, the range and take up of activities held in the library has increased  - for example 2019 saw a 30% increase in the number of children taking part in the library Summer Reading challenge at Plumstead Road and feedback from customers about the extended opening hours has been positive

“Brilliant- especially being able to pop in on a Sunday!”

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