Role of self service in public libraries: prolonged opening hours, helping library users to help themselves, saving libraries?
I work in a public library in a semi-rural municipality of some 18 000 of population, which is going to shift one of it’s libraries into some more self service next year. It will bring a lot longer opening hours, which will be cheaper as the staff will serve only part of the time. My concern is that how much of additional work does it actually take, when paradigm of helping the library users changes into helping the library users to help themselves? Can workforce be actually saved to create more events and other activities, while there can be challenges due to the self service system and different customer groups?
On the other hand, as the increase of self service can be considered as a rather concrete change in libraries, it may also present the libraries as more modern and more evolved in the future, when the role of libraries change to be more oriented towards meeting places and community centres.
Best regards from Eastern Uusimaa province!