Soest Public Library expands its opening hours as an Open Library

Instead of 41 hours as before, Soest residents can now spend 56 hours a week in their library, made possible by Nex.365 Open Library. The societal need to expand opening hours to include relevant evening and midday hours on weekdays was obvious. The additional staff-free library hours on Saturday afternoons and Sundays are in line with a modern and community-oriented library strategy. The library is now open continuously from 10am to 8pm four days a week. On Saturdays and Sundays, the doors are open until 6pm.


Library director Alexandra Eckel comments: "The extent to which the public library fulfills its role as a modern meeting place and a leisure destination is also measured by its operating hours." With the use of Open Library technology, opening hours can be extended without additional staffing."

Markus Rösch, Managing Director of Nexbib, adds: "The demand of citizens to use libraries as accessible social hubs with flexible hours and as much scope as possible is becoming increasingly pronounced. Nexbib's Open Library concept, based on many years of experience from Denmark and Finland, is a secure, easy to use and state-of-the-art solution to meet social needs without burdening staff."

The best concept for a today’s Third Place

The municipal library is central in Soest, acting as the so-called living room of the city and offering a variety of information and educational services, technical services and media of all kinds. The minimalist architecture, open interior design, and the attractive green surroundings combine to offer a high-quality environment, inviting visitors to make the most of their stay. The library garden and the library café are very popular.

A suitable concept for automated access to the new open library hours was quickly developed. The basic idea was to install a small access terminal on the glass door, where visitors identify themselves with their Mifare card so that the sliding door opens automatically. Loudspeakers are used inside to inform those present about closing times or any change to Open Library operation. Cameras provide additional security during non-service hours.

It is uniquely innovative to also open the outdoor areas of the library during unstaffed hours. In the Soest library garden, cameras have been adjusted to avoid blind spots while ensuring they comply with privacy laws by only covering areas within the garden and not beyond the library premises.

An intuitive management platform allows staff to centrally manage access control, lighting, speakers, library technology and alarm systems. In a transitional phase lasting several months, users can now conveniently exchange their previous membership card for a new library card, which is required for a contactless login at the entrance.

In order to make the expansion of opening hours as fluid as possible and to check current demand in the long term, the library has already been open all day with supervisory staff since June 2020; and additionally on Sundays since August 2020. This already enabled an increase from 31 to 41 hours per week in advance.

After successful evaluation of the Open Library operation, opening during the week until 10pm could be possible for the coming year. Adjustments to the opening hours can be done in a few minutes with the cloud-based management platform Nex.Portal.

Photos/Video © Public Library Soest

Public Library Soest | Germany

The public library is a welcoming intercultural meeting place with a high quality of stay, a so called Third Place where citizens of the urban community feel comfortable, an accessible place of experience and communication, non-commercial and without any need for consumption. In 2019, the Soest Public Library counted 90,072 visitors and over 13,000 virtual guests. Nearly 126,000 media are available for loan. 264 events enriched the cultural life of the municipality in 2019.

A self-checkout system and 24/7 outside return are an essential part of the modern library equipment.

More information at Public Library Soest.

About Nexbib

Nexbib is a provider of future-proof RFID solutions for libraries of all types and sizes. The company develops dynamic library concepts based on contemporary digital strategies and flexible, modularly expandable technology. Together with libraries, Nexbib puts the needs of the community first. Nexbib's solutions not only respond to the habits of today's smartphone society but are also focused on the needs of the next generation. Therefore, sustainability and the 2030 Agenda are high priorities.

Continuous exchange and a collaborative partnership with libraries shape innovations in a practical way. The extensive portfolio enables modern self-service for check-out, return, security and media management. Open Library concepts provide the time flexibility expected today and strengthen the standing of libraries as attractive Third Places.


Birgit Lindl
Communications + Marketing

Tel. +49 7121 15 998 65

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