REDLAND Libraries are going 24-7, with a make-over in which they will introduce services like 24-7 virtual borrowing, automatic check outs and visiting nursing homes.
The changes mean residents will be able to do things like downloading e-books night or day, learn to use a computer to do an internet job search or learn to code and play robotics.
Redland City Council has adopted a plan under which it was hoped to make it easier to connect with the community through multi-use spaces and off-site services, meaning the end of those days when people were told to be quiet or to “shoosh” when in libraries.
Mayor Karen Williams said libraries were increasingly seen as facilitating community connection, not just at its three mainland and four island branches but at other venues like nursing homes and community centres.
“While the Redland Library branches provide a perfect central destination for the community, council’s new strategy will also see libraries become more innovative in how people can access them, with plans to get out and about to more events and festivals, nursing homes and community centres and parks and other public spaces,” Cr Williams said.
“Redland Libraries’ ‘connecting to you’ early literacy program’ – which sees the libraries get out to parks and deliver story-telling and book borrowing on picnic blankets under the shade of trees – has been extremely popular and we are keen to deliver more of these services that activate spaces that people are already in.”
Cr Williams said libraries were looking at global trends in developing spaces for people to meet, to connect and learn.
“In the same way that public open spaces provide a place to meet, socialise and connect with other parts of the community, Redland Libraries can provide safe and welcoming spaces for its visitors,” Cr Williams said.
“Both the Cleveland and Victoria Point Libraries have cafes, which are inviting spaces for people to meet up, but Redland Libraries are looking at building on this to create more contemporary and flexible meeting spaces that foster innovation and creativity.
“Innovation is key in this strategy and as well as more quality spaces, we aim to provide technology, information, support and resources to also facilitate the development of new ideas that support positive social and economic outcomes for the community.”
Self-service options include 24-7 virtual borrowing and automatic check-outs to allow library staff to get out and about as a community resource.
While modernising all services, libraries will retain a focus on building improving local history programs to ensure access to Redlands’ rich heritage.
Council’s library strategy will set priorities for the next five years.
The libraries host 54,350 visitors a month, loaned more than 1 million items last financial year and owned 268,384 items, physical and digital.
Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said $20 million would be spent by the government to help draw families to the world of libraries and literacy through a program that had already attracted more than 1 million people.
“With up to 90 per cent of brain development happening in the first five years of life, the First 5 Forever program supports parents at a critical time,” Ms Enoch said.
A Mary Poppins-style book bike in Noosa, story time sessions in Bunnings in Ipswich and singing and reading in pools in the Whitsundays had helped redefine what a trip to the library meant.
“Families in Logan were recently invited to play mud soccer, cook in the mud pie bakery and get seriously dirty while First 5 Forever staff shared the importance of talking, singing, reading and playing with children in the early years,” she said.