Safety concerns around accessing library Open+ in Mossley

LIBRARY user Martin Ogden has raised concerns about the new Open+ hours initiative that was introduced in Mossley in November.

Martin Ogden at Mossley Library

Martin’s main concern is about security, saying he would not be happy for his wife Susan to go alone after dark to the library at George Lawton Hall.

The worries arose during Martin’s induction when he was instructed about procedures.

He explained: “I was shown how to get in using the new access door which is located down the side of the building out of view of anybody passing.

“I asked where are the security cameras on the exterior, but there are none.

“My biggest concern is that someone could sneak up on anybody without being seen as the side door is accessible from the rear of the building where there are no lights.

“Also, what is to stop somebody who means you harm from dragging you into the dark at the back of the library or from following you into the building?

“I know there are cameras inside, but that is little comfort if you need immediate help.

“If I needed help in an emergency, I would need to get to the desk and phone 999 after dialling 9 for an outside line first.

“I am also concerned about unsupervised people using the library. Are they all CRB checked?”

Martin, 48, can see the appeal of Open+ as the public will only be able to access the library from 9am to 8pm Monday-Friday and between 9am to 1pm on Saturday.

“I can understand why it has been done, but there are issues that still need addressing,” he continued.

“I have passed the induction for Mossley, but I also use the Central Library in Ashton, Stalybridge, Denton and Hyde. Do I need to do a separate induction for each of these?”

Martin also raised concerns about the induction that has to take place during staffed hours at the library which are 1pm to 5pm on Monday and 9am to 1pm on Wednesday and Friday.

He continued: “I asked how my wife would be able to do the induction and was told that she could only do it during the staffed hours which are no later than 5pm during the week and nothing on weekends.

“I mentioned she works and would not be able to make these times. This was met by a puzzled look.

“I asked how anybody who had not done an induction and worked 9am to 5pm would be able to access the library? The lady did not know.”

Martin added he often uses the library photocopier, but this will only be accessible during staffed hours.

If Open+ is not a success and library users dwindle, Martin fears for the future.

“Will Tameside reinstate staffed hours and admit that it doesn’t work or will they use it as an excuse to close the library that they have spent hundreds of thousands moving?” he said.

Mossley library moved to the George Lawton Hall in 2014. It was previously located on the market ground in the building that is now Ian McConnell’s vets.

A spokesperson for Tameside Council said: “With the introduction of our Open+ libraries, we are increasing the opportunity for a greater number of people to access our libraries, giving more choice in how and when they use the service.

“We are delighted the Mossley Open+ Library has been particularly well received and used by residents since its launch.

“We have promoted our extended hours well in advance to give people the opportunity to sign up and take part in inductions both inside and outside of regular working hours at all our libraries which has been a great success.

“We have taken safety concerns seriously when developing our Open+ system and there are photocell lights installed outside all the open+ entrances which automatically come on at dusk to ensure they are well-lit.

“We would welcome anyone with any questions about our new service to get in touch or visit the council website for further information.”


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