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Blueprint for buzzing libraries of the 21st century

A blueprint is being developed to make the Armidale region’s libraries more vibrant hubs where people can learn, join in group activities or just meet friends.

A 21st Century Libraries Strategy Plan is being developed by Council and everyone in the community will be invited to share how they would like to be able to use the Armidale and Guyra libraries.

“The plan has arisen from ideas the library team had to build upon the libraries’ high-quality facilities and services and encourage more people to use them,” the Chair of Council’s Community Wellbeing Advisory Committee, Councillor Debra O’Brien, said.

“Council is in the intergenerational business. We have to think not only about today’s library users but also of the future and how the young people and future generations will want to use the libraries.

“We are proud of our libraries, our exceptional collection and the professional library team offering highly valued services to the community. The current plan is to expand opportunities to even more people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. It’s about democratising access and use of libraries.

“Whether you want to curl up and read a magazine or book, do some research on alpaca wool or take a virtual reality trek up Mount Everest, we want to make the library the place you choose to do it,” she said.

“Our outstanding library services are for everyone in our community, so want to hear from all our residents about how they use the libraries or how they would like to use them. Most of all, we want to hear from individuals and groups who don’t currently use our libraries, to tell us what services or activities would get them through the doors.”

 

Council will soon begin extensive community consultation as part of the development of the strategic plan.

“We will be seeking the opinions and ideas of current library users, young people, older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities, school groups, community groups, businesses and organisations,” Cr O’Brien said.

“That feedback will complement opportunities and objectives identified by the library team.”

The strategy is a leading priority in Council’s ARC 2022 Transformation Program, which is reviewing and improving processes throughout the organisation. The four-year program is identifying innovative and exciting new ways to undertake Council’s activities, to make its services relevant to people’s lives in the 21st century and ensure they are efficient, cost-effective and easy to do business.

“We want to make the libraries a more central part of residents’ daily lives, to connect with one another and, through digital technology, the rest of the world,” she said.

“They should have versatile spaces that can easily accommodate a wide variety of groups and activities, while offering resources for everyone, young and old, to expand their knowledge or do business.”

 

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