Library users write their own destiny with self-access technology

Published on 23 November 2023

A young woman uses a self-checkout machine at Speers Point Library.

Lake Mac library visitors will be able to help themselves to book loans and other items as self-access technology is rolled out to more local branches.

Lake Macquarie City Council Coordinator Cultural Experiences Martin Payne said Cardiff Library, kuram, Speers Point Library, milyaba, and Wangi Wangi Library Creative Hub, wanji wanji, had been equipped with technology allowing registered users to come and go as they pleased, seven days a week between 7am and 7pm.

“Feedback from customers, staff and other stakeholders suggested traditional library hours no longer suited some people,” Mr Payne said.

“Self-access is all about providing flexibility for our users, giving them access to our resources before or after work, when they need it most.”

To qualify for the service, registered library users aged over 18 complete a simple induction, after which they can use their library card to access their local branch any time between 7am and 7pm, whether staff are onsite or not.

Children can accompany registered parents to all three branches. At Wangi Wangi, youths aged 12-17 can apply for their own access.

“Registered users can stay as long as they like and can use our full suite of library services, including borrowing, browsing, collecting reservations, and using computers, printers and photocopiers,” Mr Payne said.

“CCTV monitoring is in place to ensure the safety of library visitors and the security of stock and equipment.”

“We’ve had this service in place at Wangi Wangi since July 2021, and its success demonstrated the benefit of rolling it out to other branches.”

Lake Mac Libraries customers borrowed almost one million items in the past financial year – up six per cent on the previous 12 months.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the new service would not affect staffed library hours.

“Self-access hours are in addition to regular hours at these facilities, so staffed hours remain unchanged,” she said.

“Our libraries are a wonderful and much-loved community resource, and I am so happy to see initiatives like this in place to let even more people discover and enjoy them.”

The project is funded by the NSW Government, with assistance from the State Library of NSW.

Go to for more information and to register for a self-access induction session.

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