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HomeLatest NewsNorthern Beaches launches Sydney's first 24 hour local library

Northern Beaches launches Sydney’s first 24 hour local library

Libraries across the Northern Beaches could start operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week if a new trial at Forestville library is successful.

This week marks the start of the ambitious trial – the first of its kind in Sydney – choosing Forestville because of planned extra development near the hospital and general “community demand” in that area.

Council has installed CCTV and duress alarms at the site and community members wishing to sign up to 24/7 access must undergo a building and safety induction and agree to the conditions of use.

Once entered into the system a member can enter securely by scanning their library card at the door and entering their library PIN to gain access.

Forestville Library is turning 24 hours. Photo: Northern Beaches Council

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said council had been working for two years to transform the space into a welcoming technological hub that can be accessed anytime by residents.

“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 24hr economy,” Mayor Regan said.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan.

“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.

“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.

Forestville Library is turning 24 hours. Photo: Northern Beaches Council

“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.”

Academic libraries have been operating 24/7 for several years and Tullamore Library was the first to operate round the clock in NSW.

To sign up to the trial you can fill in an expression of interest form and drop it into the branch or fill one out on Northern Beaches Council’s website.

Nocturnal visitors must  be on their best behaviour as access can be revoked for any breaches of the conditions of use.

Council will evaluate community feedback and use of Forestville Library during the trial period, which runs until November this year,  before a full launch planned for sometime in 2023.

Asked if it will roll out across Manly and other local library, a Council spokesperson said: “We will be looking to evaluate community feedback and use of 24/7 access over the next twelve months and will continue to respond to and adapt all our library services in line with [that] feedback.”

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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