New self-service hours begin July 28
By Sam Catanzaro
The Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch is set to reopen later this month with a new self-service model.
The public can now sign up for Santa Monica Public Library’s new Self-Service Hours that allow users to pick up items on reserve, and access materials and resources with a swipe of their Library card at the Ocean Park Branch. The new service launches on July 28, 2021. Community members with pre-approved access will be able to access the Branch on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“We know our patrons are eager to get back to the library and we are excited to expand access to our collections through self-service hours enabled through this grant-funded technology,” said Library Director Patty Wong. “There’s more to look forward to in the fall with expanded in-person hours and youth services. We hope to see more familiar faces at our branches!”
Library patrons who complete and sign the Self-Service Hours Application and Agreement and agree to library policies can scan their Santa Monica Public Library card at the entrance to gain access to the Ocean Park Branch. The technology will allow patrons to access library collections, space, and services through the controlled self-service model that requires limited staff resources.
The program comes after this spring when the Santa Monica Public Library was selected to participate in a grant provided by the California State Library in partnership with Bibliotheca, LLC. The grant will allow for the new technology to be installed at the Ocean Park Branch Library.
The program comes as the City is facing a budget deficit brought on a pandemic-related revenue loss and unfunded pension liabilities. As part of over $200 million in budget cuts last year, the public library system lost $4.5 million in funding, 65 members of the library staff were lost their jobs under the cuts while the Fairview and Ocean Park branches were closed temporarily.
The Ocean Park Branch Library will be the sole Santa Monica location equipped with the technology. According to the City, this technology has been used throughout Europe for years as well as in the Ventura County Library system, and will soon be used by nine other libraries through a grant provided by the California State Library.
The system will operate via self-service model providing controlled access to the library and security cameras. According to the City, video will be retained for a minimum of 30 days and stored locally through with the security standards that will be made clear to all patrons who sign the agreement to participate in the program.
“Through the use of access controlled doors and automated people counting at the entrances, the system will be able to control how many occupants are allowed in the library at a given time for browsing the collection, computers and printing, and using the existing self-checkouts. Safety is of utmost importance for this service and will require that patrons who opt into the program sign an agreement that includes acceptance of the agreement and recording through the security cameras in alignment with requirements by the City, how to report any emergencies and setting expectations about the limited staffing model of Ocean Park’s Self-Service Hours,” said Principal Librarian Greco Venegas.
For more information on hours and services offered at each Santa Monica Public Library location, visit smpl.org/reopening.