Public libraries around the world have always responded to key shifts in societal needs and expectations. In the last decade, there have been many changes in how people access and use information and how we go about our daily life. At the same time, there is growing interest in understanding the impact of these changes on social cohesion and inclusion. The events of 2020 have highlighted the importance of innovation, flexibility and speed in being able to evolve service delivery to respond to the external environment. Whilst the pandemic has been an exceptional situation, it has brought into sharper focus some of the compelling reasons why Libraries ACT need to look further into the future and plan now for our changing lives and changing city.
Our library story
- Libraries ACT has nine local public libraries spread throughout Canberra and also manages the ACT Heritage Library.
- Before 2020, traditional book lending remained the primary resource used however during the last year there has been a marked shift to digital resource use. With library branches re-opened, there remains a strong trend to using digital books, movies, music and other items.
- Literacy, in many guises, is supported by the library. From early years language and literacy programs such as Giggle and Wiggle through to our Volunteer Adult Literacy program, the library offers everyone in the community a chance to learn, grow and adapt to the changing world.
- Social inclusion is an important aspect of what libraries do and libraries are considered as safe havens for vulnerable people, a place to reduce social isolation for all people and a comfortable place to be during extreme weather.
- Increasingly our libraries are becoming community meeting places. From book clubs to dance classes through to places for work and study groups, we know the need for community spaces is growing.
- Libraries have also played a growing role in supporting Canberrans to access digital services through our free public computers and staff assistance. With an increasing focus on digital services around the world, it has never been more important for the community to know libraries can play a unique role in helping everyone be digitally included.