Bringing the Library to You: Mobile Library Solutions

Open+ Pilot grant

As part of the California State Library’s “Bringing the Library to You” Mobile Library Solutions grant initiative, Califa invites California public libraries to apply to participate in a pilot of Bibliotheca's Open+. Ten libraries will be selected to receive funding to increase access to physical services through more open hours via the Open+ product. Specifically, funded libraries will each install Bibliotheca Open+ technologies in one branch location to provide 12-15 additional hours of service per week. There will be an informational webinar on Monday, March 16, at 11 a.m. The deadline for grant submissions is Friday, May 4, 2020. 

Bibliotheca’s Open+ technologies allow patrons who opt in to use their library card to gain access to library space and make use of available services such as highspeed broadband and wi-fi, computers, hold shelves, and any other self-services the library chooses to make available during hours without fully staffed service.

Please note: most libraries applying for the Open+ Pilot will NOT be eligible to also apply for additional Mobile Libraries grant funding. Only libraries with 30 or more outlets can apply for multiple grants, one of which can be the Open+ Pilot. This grant is effective for the fiscal period April 5, 2020 through March 31, 2022.

Budget

Participating libraries will have access to setup funding of up to $5000 per library for any technical or facilities setup costs required to allow the library to make use of Bibliotheca's Open+ technologies. These can include any door alterations, installation of video cameras, and/or alarm system integration that are the responsibility of the library.  The grant will also fund the annual subscription fee to Open+ for up to 2 years, with the caveat that the work can be completed before the end of the grant cycle, March 31, 2022. Funding is also available for travel to visit a current California Open+ library installation, if arrangements can be made and the library is able to accommodate. 

Background on this grant opportunity

Thanks to the State Library Broadband Project, many California libraries now offer enterprise-level broadband connectivity on-site. Many also offer laptops that can be checked out from a locker, reservable meeting rooms, pay per use scanners and copiers, and a variety of spaces that can be used for work, running a business, or as a workspace for a distributed workforce. California's Broadband libraries are looking for new ways they can serve the community with their newly available highspeed wi-fi. This Open+ Pilot Project intends to demonstrate the potential of the library as a workspace, in addition to any other self-services the library would like to make available.

The problem is that many libraries don't open for business until 10am on weekdays. Extending early morning open hours, for example, will give the community access to highspeed wi-fi, in a setting that can provide self-service access to laptops, chromebooks, PCs and tablets as well as meeting rooms and copiers, and allow patrons to make use of library facilities well before the library opens for fully staffed service. Open+ may be used mornings, evenings, or days when the library is usually closed to the public. Extending library open hours via Open+ technologies will offer self-employed and small business customers with access to the services they need to communicate, research and work online during regular "office hours"-- the same services provided in shared commercial coworking spaces -- for free. With Bibliotheca's new Open+ service, libraries are provided with all of the required technologies to affordably and securely open the library for self-service access at times when staffed, full service is not available.

If you have questions about Open+, please don’t hesitate to contact Paula MacKinnon at paula@califa.org.

(Questions about the other parts of the Bringing the Library to You mobile libraries program should be directed to Bev Schwartzberg at the California State Library.)