Extended hours bring no change to visitor numbers
DESPITE trialling new hours in an effort to attract more people, visitor numbers to the Toogoolawah library have remained stagnant.
The extra hours were implemented in July by council, in response to feedback from the community.
The trial has reached its halfway mark and the unremarkable results so far were discussed at this week's Somerset Council meeting.
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"I'm a little distressed our attendance hasn't changed," Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke said.
There are more than 9000 visitors, including upwards of 70 new members, at Somerset libraries in the average month.
Of this total, less than 600 are customers of the Toogoolawah library.
"The numbers are not truly fantastic, but they're still holding for this time of year," director of corporate and community services Matthew McGoldrick said.
While the Esk, Kilcoy and Lowood libraries operate from 9am-5pm weekdays, and the online library is available 24/7, Toogoolawah previously operated from 9am-12.30pm and 1-5pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The extended hours mean the Toogoolawah library is now also open from 9am-12.30pm on Mondays and 1-5pm on Wednesdays.
Mr McGoldrick suggested people were still adjusting to the new hours.
"Because it's a morning and afternoon, I think people are still learning about the new opening times," he said.
"With all of the other libraries, people just show up and know it's going to be open."
He also said the limited size of the library was contributing to the reduced attendance.
"It's about 84 square metres, so the space is quite restrictive," he said.
"What we're seeing is the same number of people spreading their time out more through the week."
Attendance numbers at other physical branches in the Somerset have been decreasing somewhat, a trend some suspect may be due to the prevailing popularity of the online branch.
With a little more than two months to go in the Toogoolawah trial, it remains to be seen whether the branch will continue to operate on a five-day basis or return to its previous three-day schedule.
To find out more about Somerset libraries, click here.
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