Three more libraries to be open for longer

02 October 2023

Cambridgeshire County Council libraries in Soham, Rock Road Cambridge and March have this week joined a pilot scheme that offers residents extended access.

Each of these libraries is adding more than 20 hours a week of access to their current opening times, with early mornings (from 8am Monday-Friday) and Sunday openings introduced, alongside more consistent full day access.

The inclusion of the Soham, Rock Road Cambridge and March libraries brings the number of libraries participating in the Open+ pilot scheme to five. The scheme was first trialled at the libraries in Histon and St Ives, which have now been successfully offering extended opening hours through Open+ for some time.

Open+ allows residents to access certain library services at specific times outside of usual staffed hours, including:

  • access to free Wi-Fi
  • access to the full range of library loan stock, with self-service borrowing and returns
  • access to PCs, printers and photocopiers
  • comfortable study and leisure spaces
  • meeting room hire

Open+ is a way to improve library access and help make sure that buildings are being well used. The existing pilots in St Ives and Histon libraries have proved popular, with more than 3,000 residents registering and more than 6,000 recorded Open+ visits taking place since May 2021.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion committee said: “I am delighted that more libraries will be joining the Open+ scheme which has already proved so effective at the libraries in Histon and St Ives.

“As a Council, we are committed to making Cambridgeshire a fairer and more caring place and Open+ delivers on those objectives. In St Ives and Histon, Open+ has allowed groups that are often unable to visit a library during normal opening hours to access community facilities that they were otherwise cut off from.

“I look forward to evaluating Open+ at the libraries in Soham, Cambridge and March, and hopefully, in due course, adding more libraries to this scheme, for the benefit of Cambridgeshire’s residents.”

Anyone with full library membership over the age of 16 can register to use Open+. Just speak to a member of staff at any Open+ library during staffed hours. They’ll take you through a simple registration process and short induction session to help you access the library outside of its normal hours.

Watch a video on using Open+ facilities: Open+ out of hours library access - Cambridgeshire County Council