The next chapter of the ACT’s much-loved library service is about to be written with an Assembly committee to inquire into its future shape, role in the community and how it will function in an increasingly digital world.
The Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services will be looking at the current and future need for library sites and the best, most cost-effective model of service.
As well as investigating the sore point of opening hours, which have been cut back in recent years, the committee will also examine whether library branches are currently located in the best place to serve their communities, their cost-effectiveness and where future facilities will need to be sited.
It wants to know if the community wants libraries to be more multi-purpose facilities that conduct education and training activities, are open to public use and are focal points for creativity and social inclusion.
The committee will also tackle the question of whether other government services should be co-located with libraries.
What your local library may offer in the future is also included in the terms of reference, with the committee to inquire into the demand for non-digital matter and digital assets, or how many books may still fill its shelves.
The committee will also investigate what libraries are doing in other jurisdictions and the community take-up of their services and compare these with the situation in the ACT.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services, Labor’s Suzanne Orr said the future of libraries was an important and evolving topic for communities and governments in the digital world.
“We look forward to hearing from as many people as possible about what is working well in ACT Public Libraries, and what can be improved,” she said.
“The Committee aims to make this inquiry accessible to a diverse range of Canberrans, both library members and non-members, so we can learn how libraries can engage with and provide services to different groups of people in the ACT.”
Also on the committee are Candice Burch (Liberal and Deputy Chair), Tara Cheyne (Labor) and Nicole Lawder (Liberal).
The Committee is currently accepting submissions on these key issues, with the closing date set for 21 September 2018. They could either be sent via post to:
The Committee Secretary,
Legislative Assembly for the ACT,
GPO Box 1020
Canberra ACT 2601
Or by email to LACommitteeETCS@parliament.act.gov.au