The intrinsic value of libraries as public spaces: Technology and digital services reflect the changing role of libraries

A Civica Changing Landscapeā„¢ report

The process of digital disruption and technological advancement has meant that libraries are also changing, not in their core objective, but in the way they deliver their vital service.

Learning how libraries are changing and establishing the best ways to gain the most from these new resources is a task undertaken by Civica and its research partner University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Civica is involved in ongoing research into the evolution of local government based resources in particular, and as part of these efforts, Civica Libraries engaged the UTS: Institute for Public Policy and Governance to undertake research into the value of libraries as public spaces. This data analysis includes:

  • Use of data from recent research projects undertaken by the Institute, Regional Library Management Models and Why Local Government Matters. This new analysis relates specifically to the value of libraries for the purpose of this report.
  • A tailored survey, which was prepared and sent to library and council staff across Australia and New Zealand. This has provided new data on the value of libraries as public spaces from the views and perspectives of professionals working in the sector. A topline analysis of the survey responses has been undertaken and prepared for this report.

As an additional research component, a focus group was conducted with council and library representatives. Participant perspectives from this discussion have provided further insights into the key themes of the project and are included in this report.

The focus group, representing a number of library staff and managers from inner city to rural based libraries, provided their views on the ways in which library space can continue to be better used to the benefit of their communities.

Their experience as hands on practitioners delivering library services to the community provides vital insights into the disruptive nature of technological change and the way in which evolving library and community space concepts have stepped up to meet those challenges.

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A Civica Changing Landscape™ report

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