A glimpse at our libraries of the future

Book lovers: Knox mayor Adam Gill, Joseph Cullen, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Libraries deputy chairwoman Joanna Duncan, MAC chairman David Morris and John Mortimore discuss the future of libraries in Knox. Picture: Wayne HawkinsWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
Nanjing Night Net

KNOX libraries of the future could feature cafes and colourful areas for children if the council’s dreams can be realised.

The ambitious plans, tabled at last month’s Knox Council meeting, might not be looked at for some years.

Eastern Regional Libraries chief executive officer Joseph Cullen said the roll-out of the plans would be a “question of priorities, funding and timing”.

ERL commissioned an architect to design appropriate physical facilities at each Knox branch, and the cost of each development could range from between $700,000 and $2 million.

The plans for Knox library, which is within Knox shopping centre, included new wet areas for activities and new furniture.

However, the lease for the site expires in 2017 and the plans would be reconsidered once there was more certainty for the branch.

Mr Cullen said the development of the children’s areas were necessary because the libraries needed something to attract young people.

The most costly proposed upgrade would be at Boronia library, which in June last year was estimated at $1.8 million.

The plan included turning the loading dock into office accommodation, expanding the multipurpose room and building a cafe. A cafe was also suggested for Ferntree Gully library.

“Cafes at libraries are something that are happening internationally. It makes it a destination and people stay a bit longer,” Mr Cullen said.

Last week, the bipartisan Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Libraries visited Knox library to consult with ERL staff and the council.

The advisory council is undertaking a review titled ‘Tomorrow’s Library’ which looks into the current and future roles of public libraries.

Although funding won’t officially be discussed until stage two of the review, it was still a topic many were keen to discuss at the meeting.

“Funding for libraries is an issue,” Cr John Mortimore said. “Libraries deserve a better share.”

Mr Cullen said the state government needed to look at its level of funding to public libraries, because the ratio of council to state funding had been decreasing since the 1970s.

To have your say on ERL’s future plans, go to tomorrowslibrary南京夜网.au.