Forestville Library is one of the first in Australia to trial 24/7 opening hours.

Forestville Library is trialling an extension of opening hours to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7), making it one of the first public libraries in Australia to do so, and the first on the Northern Beaches.

Forestville Library

Responding to community feedback for increased access to library spaces after hours, Forestville Library has been transformed into a modern, flexible space that will now be available to its members whenever they need it.

Forestville Library

The extended after-hours trial kicked off this week (Monday, 29 August) and will run until November. According to Northern Beaches Council, participant feedback during the two-month trial will be used to finetune library services to best meet community needs ahead of a planned launch in 2023.

Forestville Library

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan revealed the project has been two years in the making, with extensive research and development to create a safe, technological hub that is both welcoming and accessible.

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

“We are so thrilled to kick off this project. Our aim is to increase visitation and usage of the Forestville Library by re-purposing the space not only to meet current and future community needs, but the growing needs of the 24-hour economy.

“Libraries are changing — they’re not just books — they’re safe, welcoming public spaces with access to modern digital services. This trial is another step towards our libraries becoming accessible community hubs, reflecting our community’s changing lifestyle.

“Since COVID, we know we must adapt and change, so this provides a modern, flexible workspace for entrepreneurs, small business owners, emerging artists, and young people when they need it, outside normal business hours. It is a win for everyone.

“The area has also been chosen given the dramatic changes it has seen with the new hospital precinct and the rapid increase in urban dwellings in the new town centre, so it’s a perfect spot for the trial,” explained Mayor Regan.

Forestville Library

The trial is groundbreaking and reimagines the traditional model of a public library in Australia. Forestville Library continues to provide a full range of services and remains staffed from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 1.00pm Saturday, but is unstaffed during the extended opening hours, with self-checkouts and information kiosks installed.

After-hours access to the secure building can only be gained by scanning a valid library card at the door and entering the library card Personal Identification Number (PIN), with added security measures in place once inside, including CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) and duress alarms.

Forestville Library

To join the trial and gain access to Forestville Library after regular closing times, you must be a library member and attend an on-site safety induction in person. Participants will be granted unlimited after-hours access to the library for the duration of the trial period and can provide feedback about their experience via an online survey.

Forestville Library

Forestville Library is located at 6 Darley Street, Forestville. Enquiries, phone 02 8495 5025 or email library@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au

Images: Northern Beaches Council

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