If you observe Council, please don’t form your assumptions based on Councils agendas, make them on Council’s decisions.
View Council agendas as the deliberations and the minutes as the decisions: the two can be very different. This is the case with respect to the, “Future of Unley Libraries Review”.
At the recent Council meeting senior staff presented a report on the potential future of Unley’s libraries. The Councillors of Unley have received no credit or recognition (from what I’ve seen) for the outstanding job they did on the floor of the Council chamber that night, in making amendments to the recommended motion and thereby transforming this item on the agenda into a broad ranging community debate on the future of Unley’s libraries.
To understand why I’m so full of praise for the Councillors please compare the below. The recommended motion was made up of five points and the critical point was the fifth, with the original reading:
5. An investigation be undertaken to determine the feasibility of the Council’s Library Service being reduced to one centrally located service point within the City. The investigation will consider a purpose built library that co-locates, possibly with other community type services.
Councillors vision and desire to find the best solution for their community reworded this into:
5. Administration investigate a number of alternative service delivery models to the current Library Service. This could include (but not be limited) to the provision of a new purpose built library at an appropriate location within the city, modifications to the existing library in the town hall, the provision of small library outlets in partnership with other organisations and the provision of additional pick up/ drop off facilities at locations across the city. As part of the investigation process, consultation occur with the community regarding the options investigated. A report of findings be presented to Council for consideration in January 2016.
I can understand how the original point five gave the impression that Council would strongly consider closing the Goodwood Library but the debate on the night and the resulting amendment clearly demonstrate the Councillors of Unley see the need for a broader investigation into the how Unley’s libraries could look in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will Fullarton Park Library continue as a service point? Key response:
Yes, library customers will still be able to use the location for the collection and return of borrowed library resources although the small browsing collection will no longer be on offer from 1 July 2015.
- A designated library computer is available at the Fullarton Park Centre providing users with the ability to order resources on-line.
- As the majority of users make library requests or order materials from other branches, the small browsing collection will no longer be on offer from 1 July 2015.
- Eligible library users may also opt to become a member of the Home Library Service and receive delivery of their library material at their home.
- What will happen to Unley’s Toy Library Services?
There is no immediate action planned. An investigation will be conducted into the possibility of combining the libraries and this will be completed in September 2015.
- There are currently two separate, independent Toy Library Services in Unley. The Unley Toy Library is operated and managed by the Unley Council. Although the Goodwood Toy Library is located within the Goodwood Library, it is operated and managed by the Goodwood Community Centre Board.
- Council has requested the investigation of alternative service delivery models to the current Library Service. What does this mean?
- The investigation will identify the community’s preferred service delivery model –centralised vs. de-centralised.
- A centralised model could potentially include a purpose built library at an appropriate location within the city. Such a centrally located purpose built library will explore opportunities to improve service delivery and customer service that will address the global emerging trends of libraries while considering the financial benefits that may exist.
- A de-centralised model could potentially include modifications to the existing Unley Civic Library and Goodwood Library to meet the needs of the community; investigate the provision of small library outlets in partnership with other organisations and the provision of additional pick up/ drop off facilities at locations across the city.
- Community consultation will commence over the next few months.
- A report of findings will be presented to Council for consideration in January 2016.
- Why is a centralised library service model considered for the City of Unley?
National and international trends show that libraries are no longer considered to be stand-alone entities, and are embracing the idea of co-locating partners for mutual benefit. Council has endorsed an investigation into this and other models of delivering library services.
- When reflecting on the future forecasts for increasing urbanisation, growth in transport corridors, investment in leading environmental and engineering structures, changing demographics and financial pressures, it is important to consider library buildings as spaces for optimum results.
- Unley Council’s current 3 library locations are within 2kms of each other with a catchment size of 14km2, which is considerably smaller than the City’s neighbouring councils with one library service point.
- National and international trends show that libraries are no longer considered to be standalone entities, and are embracing the idea of co-locating partners for mutual benefit. Local councils across Australia are investigating whether moving from traditional facilities to colocated community hubs are a viable and sustainable way to organise services.
- The report refers to a cost saving of $2.2 million over the next decade. Is this resulting from closing one of the libraries?
Key Response: No. The anticipated $2.2 million savings are found through initiatives such as implementing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to automate library customer service delivery.