Further breaches of safety in staffless libraries.

For full PDF of FOI on suspensions click here:

Suspensions My Open Library Offaly – Copy

As predicted by the Staff our Libraries group the continuation of the staffless libraries scheme has led to further breaches in security and safety. In an additional Freedom of Information request to Offaly County Council we find that the suspension of “My Open Library” members continues unabated. This is because technology cannot prevent these incidents.

There have been 29 tailgating incidents and 24 incidents of an Open Library member giving their card to another person. Most staggering of all though are the 158 incidents of open library members opening the security doors to allow access to another person.

Most worrying of all the suspensions are those due to leaving a child without supervision in an unmonitored unstaffed library. In 2015 there were 4 incidents of a minor being left unsupervised during unstaffed hours, in 2016, 3 and another one last year. One incident should have been enough to prompt a review of the system and its safety.

These combined with other incidents have led to over 220 suspensions of My Open Library members. In addition we know that one member had their membership permanently withdrawn for being under the influence of alcohol during staffless hours.


The reason there has been no reductions in these incidents as time goes on is that technology cannot prevent them for occurring. Technology cannot prevent tailgating. Technology cannot prevent people opening the door to allow others in during unstaffed hours. Technology cannot prevent people giving their cards and PINs to others to use. Technology cannot prevent a parent leaving a child in an unmonitored unstaffed environment. The proposed extension of this scheme is inherently unsafe for library staff, members of the public and especially children.


Co. Offaly 2015 2016 2017
Tailgating-open library customer being followed in by another 6 14 9
Open Library member opening door to allow access to another person 38 88 32
Open library member giving their card to another person to use 6 10 8
A minor being left unsupervised during open library hours for any period of time 4 3 1
Non-compliance with health and safety procedures and fire drills 1 0 0
Reports from users of other users who were noisy and causing disruption 0 0 10




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