26 September 2023

Public libraries to open new chapter

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Libraries ACT is calling on Canberrans to help write the future of the city’s nine public libraries in a new co-design process.

Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel said the Agency’s Libraries ACT: Imagine 2030 project sought to understand what people valued about their libraries, what they wanted to use them for and how libraries could continue as valuable community hubs in the years ahead.

“Libraries are a fantastic public asset as a place where anyone can come to read a book, use a computer or just spend time with others in their community,” Mr Steel said.

“We know their role and use is changing over time as Canberrans increasingly access information digitally,” he said.

“Alongside technology, the onset of COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how libraries are used, with Canberrans increasingly using libraries to access additional services beyond traditional book lending.”

Mr Steel said Libraries ACT wanted to work with Canberrans to understand how it could integrate more modern features into the Territory’s existing network of libraries to make them even better.

He said that, ahead of launching the co-design process, the Agency held workshops and conversations with library staff and members, and conducted research into how libraries were adapting nationally and internationally.

Mr Steel said Libraries ACT would conduct a wide range of co-design activities from this month, including displays in branches and pop-up sessions at shopping precincts; special Giggle and Wiggle and Story time; workshops with students; morning teas for older Canberrans; engagement with peak bodies; a tailored survey for Canberra’s multicultural community; and public engagement through the ACT’s Your Say website.

The Minister said feedback received before 10 September would inform the development of a 10-year strategy, to be released for public comment.

“We particularly want to hear from young people and those who are not current library users about how we can adapt what’s on offer through Canberra’s libraries to make them attractive and welcoming for our whole community,” Mr Steel said.

Further information on Libraries ACT’s co-design process, including how to have a say, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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