While, for our residents, libraries remain first and foremost, a place to borrow books, we also know needs and expectations are changing in response to changing demographics, events, and technological developments.

For example, as was evident during the October 2022 flood event, our libraries also serve as a place of refuge and escape for vulnerable members of our community - and not just in extreme events. This is equally true for those dealing with cost of living pressures, like rising power bills.

The Maribyrnong City Council Library Plan 2023-25, endorsed at a meeting on 19 July 2023, sets out the aspirations and key activities for library services over the next two years.

You can view the endorsed Plan here.

If you have any questions, please email: library@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

Why we have a new Library Plan

The endorsed Library Plan seeks to address a number of challenges including:

Ongoing impact of COVID-19

Post the immediate impacts institutions like libraries, and individuals are still having to adjust to a post-pandemic norm - including rethinking priorities in relation to the maintenance of good physical and mental health, social connections, and social distance in relation specifically to the proximity of services in local communities.

A need for flexible library services

There has been increased demand for adaptable spaces that offer residents greater flexibility when visiting our libraries - from quiet spaces to study and work and informal seating to gathering spaces and program areas. These spaces must be supported by fresh and relevant library collections.

Digital literacy

We know technology can be challenging - it is for us too at times. Helping bridge the digital divide remains a priority, but also a challenge for our libraries that provide access to fast-speed Internet and Wi-Fi, and computers and tablets. We also recognise our role in supporting residents with low digital literacy and/or no computer or internet, to access information they need online, fill in forms, and complete job applications.

Staff capabilities

Changing community needs and rapid advances in technology continue to influence the delivery of our services. The need for continued investment in technology and a skilled, competent workforce with contemporary skills to adapt and innovate has never been more important.

Actions to address key challenges

You'll find a snapshot in the image below of how your feedback helped inform key actions to address the identified challenges around the ongoing impact of COVID-19, flexible library spaces, digital literacy, and staff capability, in the short term. These actions reflect feedback from both our community and our staff, while also reflecting industry best practice.

Community Engagement

Phase two: Draft Library Plan

Phase Two engagement was premised on demonstrating how feedback from the first conversation helped shape the draft document, highlighting some of the key actions that showcased community priorities. This conversation was primarily online and supported by two in-person events.

There were a large number of document downloads (121) and page views (465) confirming a continued high level of interest in the project.

Similar to Phase One, feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with the 36 visitors who provided additional feedback:

  • enthusiastic about the proposed actions, particularly in relation to the ‘Library of Things’ space
  • supportive of building library staff capability, recognising the valuable role and contribution library staff make to the community

As a result of this feedback we updated the Library Plan to:

  • make it clearer the Library Plan is supported by an Annual Action Plan
  • committed to a pilot of 'Library Things' (rather than an investigation)
  • committed to wellbeing initiatives, in addition to professional development for staff

Phase one: Initial Conversation

During our initial conversation in late 2022, 1,300 community members shared their aspirations for Maribyrnong libraries online and in person providing nearly 4,000 comments that helped inform the development of the draft Library Plan 2023-25.

From the hundreds of responses, we heard some creative and practical ideas on what our future libraries could look like which we have shared below.

When asked what comes to mind when you think of Maribyrnong Libraries, you told us.....

When asked what current library services you enjoyed the most, you told us...

When asked how COVID-19 changed your library habits, you told us...

When asked what suggestions and aspirations you had for our libraries, you asked us to think about....

April-May 2023 online post-it board

Have we got it right?

Share your thoughts on the proposed actions including whether there is something you think we might have missed by midnight 10 May 2023. Each proposed action is identified under one of the 11 categories below. Select the one you want to provide feedback on - or all of them if you wish - or provide a general comment in the questionnaire.

10 May, 2023

May says:

Can we make parking free next to Footscray library? It's a BIG deterrent going to that particular branch which is a shame.

10 May, 2023

May says:

What are the plans? The document is good review on what was heard and surveyed but what will libraries address these concerns? I'm not sure.

9 May, 2023

Dom Emery says:

I would like to see a reference in the intro to public libraries being free, to their importance to democracy, and to well-being and economy

8 May, 2023

TT says:

The plan does not include any actual concrete plans, it's all about 'developing strategies' - what outcomes are we actually getting?

6 May, 2023

Sandra says:

Sure. Very important not at expense of core reading, study/research. Can this also include remote internet of things learning activities?

5 May, 2023

Charlotte Dowling says:

Pls add library of things An eco sustainability center eg Hobson bay Borrowing formal wear for poor Request books bought if not stocked

5 May, 2023

Kate says:

Schools are really struggling to assist kids with poor literacy. What about a collaboration with local schools with reading support groups

5 May, 2023

Kate says:

It does amaze me there aren't often more people in the library. Research on why to then build a marketing plan would be useful.

5 May, 2023

Kate says:

Be good to see Council to use library spaces for program delivery like MHC talks for parents. Love library of things and literacy program

5 May, 2023

Sarah says:

A library of things would benefit the community greatly.

5 May, 2023

Sarah says:

Dedicated collection spaces for easier access to local First Nations education and sustainability resources

5 May, 2023

Sarah says:

Expand collection to include useful things - refer Hobsons Bay enviro centre, loaning out thermal cameras and energy meters

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