Today saw the "Connected Community Places" project move from planning and piloting to workshops with library managers. This project is one of 37 projects in our "Tomorrow's Libraries" strategic plan.
The consultants ran their first workshop at Mawson Lakes & will repeat the process at Hallett Cove on Thursday, before running workshops in Berri, Naracoorte and Port Pirie in coming weeks. Today's Mawson Lakes session saw staff from 15 different libraries working through the online data capture template. While most staff were from metro Adelaide & northern country councils - we also saw people from as far & wide as Port Lincoln & Waikerie.
The outcome of this project will be that each council will have a report benchmarking their current library buildings against the quasi-national standards for libraries that were developed by the State Library of New South Wales. The report will also provide some comparisons to other libraries, as well as looking at not just "size," but libraries being fit for purpose and effective community space. We'll also be looking at the library location, its furniture etc.
The other outcome is that the Libraries Board of South Australia will have an aggregated report for all public libraries in the State. (This project doesn't cover our School Community Libraries - which are joint use facilities based in schools. Their "joint use" nature, along with them not being owned by local councils means that at this stage they are excluded from assessment. This may happen at a later stage, using different metrics.)
We expect that this project will provide councils with a good foundation for longer term planning for the future of their libraries - everything to the location and size of new libraries, through to furniture or signage upgrades.