Library pilot scheme offers mobile options to get online

This story was published 17 August 2017

Selby library is responding to feedback from customers by making tablets and other touchscreen computers available for public use.

library books

North Yorkshire County Council and Selby District Council have teamed up to invest in the new devices, which will provide alternatives to the library’s standard desktop computers for people who are more familiar with using mobile devices at home.

In addition, help will be on hand from library staff and volunteers to advise people on how to use and get the most from their tablets. This could include helping them use county council or district council services, look for a better deal on gas and electric, or home or car insurance, keep up to date with friends and family or find out what’s happening locally.

This is a pilot scheme, so before a decision is taken on whether to extend it to other libraries, library staff members want to hear from customers about whether the tablets provide the best way to access information and services.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Library and Information Services, said: “Some library customers have told us they would like to see tablets available for use in the county’s libraries, so this pilot scheme in Selby is in response to that.

“So much is done online these days, but some of us could benefit from a helping hand to make the most of it. And what you learn at your library you can use at home, too. To understand better whether this is the right direction for library computers, we encourage people to visit the library to try out the new equipment then let us know how they prefer to get online and what we can do to help them.”

Selby District Council’s Executive member with responsibility for communities, Cllr Chris Metcalfe, added: “The District Council’s supporting this new investment in IT because we want libraries in our area to be at the centre of our communities – a place where you can get the help and support you need to make the most of online services. We want to support ways of doing things that better meet your needs. In this case, it’s about making it as easy as possible for you to use different types of online services that can benefit your everyday life.”

The library is run by the County Council, and the new equipment is being supported by the District Council as part of the two authorities’ Better Together joint work.

Later in the year, Selby library will be refurbished to improve its facilities. This will include a new computer area, study space and a flexible layout to allow greater use of the venue for community activities.

Other digital improvements at libraries include enabling customers to print documents from their own devices through the council’s wi-fi. This is being tested at Selby and will be extended to all libraries across the county. Customers can also now scan documents to their personal email address in all libraries across the county. These improvements will help in such tasks as completing applications and printing tickets.