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Self-help scheme widens libraries access

Issued: 8 Jan 2007

A £63,000 Highland Council pilot project launched tomorrow (Tuesday 9th January, 2007) at Lochcarron Library will enable wider access to library services and allow staff to devote more time to helping their customers make the most of the library service.

Local Highland Councillor Ewen MacKinnon will meet Council libraries staff and Howard Doris Centre staff at the Centre to see a demonstration of a new computer that allows library users to personally check out and in items they are borrowing. The computer which is a ~self-issue machine~ is sited together with a collection of books out with the library in the Howard Doris Centre.

Councillor MacKinnon said: "I very much welcome this library pilot project being introduced here in Lochcarron and I will be interested to see how this added flexibility, to what is at present a very popular service, will work out in practice. I am sure it will be welcomed because of the added convenience it will bring to existing users and I also think that it might attract more users to the library ~ those that find it difficult to access the existing service because of conflicting time commitments. I am also pleased to see that the established good working relationship that the library has with the Howard Doris Centre makes it attractive for the Council to try out this new service in this area for the benefit of the wider community."

Charlotte Macarthur, Highland Council's Area Libraries Officer for Ross and Cromarty said: "This means that people can use the library service even when the library is closed. This is a huge bonus in a rural area such as ours and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the staff of the Howard Doris Centre to extend library facilities for local residents."

Eileen Swan works as a relief in the library and also as a care assistant in the Howard Doris Centre. She says: "The Centre has long enjoyed a partnership with the library, with residents and visitors regularly popping through to browse the shelves and borrow books and tapes. The self- issue machine will serve to extend this facility by allowing folk to exchange their books whenever they are visiting the centre."

Self-issue machines are being installed at five additional sites including: Achiltibuie and Mallaig Libraries, where as at Lochcarron they will be available out with library opening hours, and at Tain, Dornoch and Inverness Libraries.

At each of these sites members of the public will be given training in getting the best out of the library service through using the on-line library catalogue, accessing e-resources, and making the most of the People's Network computers which provide free internet access in all Highland Council libraries.

Library staff are working in partnership with local organisations to support particular groups of library users. At Lochcarron the library service is working with the management of the Howard Doris Centre for the elderly. The partner at Achiltibuie is the village hall committee; at Tain the local reading groups; at Dornoch the UHI Centre for History; at Mallaig the Lochaber College Community Learning Centre; and at Inverness groups working with those for whom English is a second language, or who have other language needs.

This £63,000 Highland Council project is funded by the Scottish Executive through the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) as part of the Public Libraries Quality Improvement programme.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme