LIBRARIES have changed, and the pace of change is quickening.
This article was first published in the 15 August 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Get your copy from retailers across the region today.
No longer are they silent stuffy buildings filled with books and dark corners. The libraries of today are evolving into light, open spaces with banks of computers, creative “maker spaces,” gaming consoles, dedicated study and meeting areas and even access to high speed Wi-Fi to take your home business out of the spare room.
We’ve had to evolve to keep up with the way that people are consuming their information. While there is no decrease in the need for physical books, there is simultaneously an increase in the desire for eBooks. Even eAudio books are no longer just used by the vision impaired. Many people listen to audio books in the car, the truck, at work and while they are out walking. The way we use our time is changing the way we read.
This is happening around the world. It’s an exciting time, and West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation is embracing the change.
I have been fortunate to be part of “Tomorrow’s Library” – a landmark review of public libraries. Some of the proposals include a state-wide single library card, allowing Victorians to borrow and return at any library. In addition it proposes the same access to digital content, further opening up the collections and allowing 24/7 access. The rollout of this initiative is reliant on new State government funding so we are anxiously awaiting announcements by the State Election.
At a local level, we are introducing innovative programs to appeal to a broader cross-section of the community. This year our libraries will be celebrating The Reading Hour with a special Story Time session in six of our libraries including Warragul. We are calling it the “Bloke’s Reading Shed”. We hope to encourage dads, grandads, big brothers and male carers to come in for some stories and fun. The Bloke’s Shed will run from 6-7pm on Tuesday 19 August. Visit www.wgrlc.vic.gov.au for further information.
Libraries have come a long way, and with over 400 people using libraries like our local Warragul library every day, the Corporation and the Baw Baw Shire Council are striving to provide the services that support and nurture community connectedness and creativity.
The national Children’s Book Week will run from 16 August until 22 August.
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