BUILDING AUDIT OF VICTORIAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES                An independent report for theState Library of Victoria and Vic...
Table of contentsEXECUTIVE SUMMARY....................................................................... 12Project aim .....
3. THE ROLE OF PUBLIC LIBRARY BUILDINGS IN VICTORIA .............. 393.1 Administration arrangements ........................
4.11 Tenure............................................................................................ 1024.12 Future pro...
APPENDICES .................................................................................... 157Appendix 1: Survey tool...
Table 4.5: Most recent major refurbishment by age (year built) of library(Q.19) .............................................
Table 7.1: Planned library development in Victoria (Q.7).......................... 126Table 7.2: Location of planned libra...
List of case studiesCase study 1: Caroline Springs Library, Melton Library and InformationService ...........................
Abbreviations/definitionsABS                Australian Bureau of StatisticsAmenities areas    foyer; lobby; corridors/circ...
Joint-use        two or more distinct library service providers serve their                 client group in the same build...
AcknowledgementsThe project was undertaken for the State Library of Victoria, in partnershipwith the Victorian public libr...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYProject aimThis report documents the findings of the 2007 Building Audit of Victorianpublic libraries und...
On average, every day every Victorian public library will lend about 500   items, receive nearly 270 visits and respond to...
The Audit identified that:   19 new branch libraries are planned;   25 existing libraries are to be completely replaced (e...
It is apparent that some libraries are ‘working harder’ than others. The   number of people visiting libraries in Victoria...
Fit for purpose: Social role of library buildings in their communitiesA concept gaining increasing favour is a library bei...
Thirty-three branches (13.8%) are less than the 139 sq m GFA minimum sizerecommended by People places for a public library...
People places being developed for application to new libraries, which havemore open designs, and a vertically reduced numb...
Building condition surveys are undertaken by library services or localauthorities for almost four-fifths (79.1%) of Victor...
We have, however, paid less attention to service-based and population-basedbenchmarks outlined in People places in recomme...
2. Capacity buildingThe Audit results also point to a need for a range of capacity buildingactivities to be undertaken. To...
1. INTRODUCTION1.1 BackgroundThis report documents the findings of the 2007 Building Audit of Victorianpublic libraries un...
Case study 1: Caroline Springs Library, Melton Library and Information Service(Photographer: Emma Cross)Gross floor area: ...
Caroline Springs Library continuedThe building also serves as the school library for the adjacent senior campusof the Caro...
1.3 Study context and policy framework1.3.1 The changing role and nature of the public library buildingReports of the deat...
evidenced in Victoria by the LBC project which identified that ‘on average,every day every Victorian public library will l...
several smaller buildings. Sharing car parks, foyers and other commonspaces can make economic sense. Collocated facilities...
Report 2: Logging the Benefits outlines the community views on the role   and benefits of public libraries.   Report 3: Br...
The second edition identified emerging trends impacting on the design andfunction of public libraries in New South Wales (...
based benchmark, is also discussed in Section 9.4. Both are integral indeveloping a benchmark for library service provisio...
Case study 2: Kerang Library, Gannawarra Library ServiceGross floor area:   682.6 sq mUser catchment:     Kerang and the s...
Kerang Library continuedLarge windows deliver natural light and those surrounding the recreationalreading area create the ...
1.4.2 Previous audits in VictoriaIn 2001, the Victorian Department of Infrastructure undertook a survey ofpublic library b...
1.5 Structure of the reportThis report is structured as follows:Section 1: provides an introduction to the project, includ...
Individual Local Government Authority audit reports were distributedelectronically to each relevant library service manage...
2. STUDY APPROACH2.1 MethodologyThe Audit was undertaken via an online survey undertaken from 28 May to1 August 2007. The ...
The LGA survey was divided into four parts:   Part A. Assessment of Population-based Benchmark of Library Provision.   Par...
2.3 Study limitationsThe analysis of the survey responses has revealed a number of limitations tothe study which are impor...
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Transcript of "Building Audit Victorian Public Libraries"

  1. 1. BUILDING AUDIT OF VICTORIAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES An independent report for theState Library of Victoria and Victorian public library network By BBC Consulting Planners May 200855 MOUNTAIN STREET BROADWAY NSW ~ PO BOX 438 BROADWAY NSW 2007 TELEPHONE [02] 9211 4099 ~ FAX [02] 9211 2740 EMAIL bbc@bbcplanners.com.au ~ WEBSITE www.bbcplanners.com.au ABN 061 868 942 -1-
  2. 2. Table of contentsEXECUTIVE SUMMARY....................................................................... 12Project aim ............................................................................................... 12The contribution of public libraries ........................................................... 12The challenges facing public library buildings ........................................... 13Are Victorian libraries equipped to face these challenges? ......................... 13 Fit for purpose: Physical condition of public library buildings in Victoria 13 Fit for purpose: Social role of library buildings in their communities ...... 16 Fit for purpose: Is the floorspace of public library buildings adequate? ... 16Where are libraries located?...................................................................... 18How are library assets managed?.............................................................. 18Are there ‘enough’ public libraries in Victoria? .......................................... 19Recommended strategies .......................................................................... 20 1. Building Area Factor.......................................................................... 20 2. Capacity building .............................................................................. 21 3. Community hubs and learning centres .............................................. 21 4. Annual and bi-annual building audits ............................................... 211. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 221.1 Background........................................................................................ 221.2 Aims and research objectives .............................................................. 221.3 Study context and policy framework ................................................... 25 1.3.1 The changing role and nature of the public library building........... 25 1.3.2 Framework for Collaborative Action .............................................. 27 1.3.3 Libraries Building Communities.................................................... 27 1.3.4 People places ................................................................................ 28 1.3.5 Snapshot of the Victorian public library network........................... 301.4 Previous audits of public library buildings........................................... 30 1.4.1 Audit of Public Library Buildings in New South Wales ................... 30 1.4.2 Previous audits in Victoria ............................................................ 331.5 Structure of the report ........................................................................ 342. STUDY APPROACH ......................................................................... 362.1 Methodology ....................................................................................... 362.2 Response rate ..................................................................................... 372.3 Study limitations ................................................................................ 38 -2-
  3. 3. 3. THE ROLE OF PUBLIC LIBRARY BUILDINGS IN VICTORIA .............. 393.1 Administration arrangements ............................................................. 393.2 The value of public library buildings ................................................... 39 3.2.1 Value of buildings......................................................................... 40 3.2.2 Capital expenditure ...................................................................... 42 3.2.3 Library expenditure as a proportion of total Local Government Authority budget ................................................................................... 45 3.2.4 Summary of future planned expenditure ....................................... 463.3 Utilisation of public library buildings .................................................. 47 3.3.1 Size of buildings ........................................................................... 47 3.3.2 Number of visitors ........................................................................ 53 3.3.3 Total operating hours ................................................................... 54 3.3.4 Overview of functional areas ......................................................... 55 3.3.5 Specialist uses of space ................................................................ 593.4 The social role of library buildings in their communities ...................... 62 3.4.1 Collocation ................................................................................... 66 3.4.2 Joint-use ...................................................................................... 684. PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT OF BUILDINGS......................................... 714.1 Context .............................................................................................. 714.2 Respondent views on quality ............................................................... 72 4.2.1 Survey respondents’ perception of library quality .......................... 72 4.2.2 Finest and worst features ............................................................. 774.3 Physical condition of public library buildings in Victoria...................... 79 4.3.1 Age of library buildings ................................................................. 79 4.3.2 Design for purpose ....................................................................... 79 4.3.3 Refurbishment.............................................................................. 814.4 Flexible and multifunctional buildings ................................................ 844.5 Internal accessibility and mobility ....................................................... 85 4.5.1 Wheelchair-accessible car parking ................................................ 86 4.5.2 Wheelchair-accessible main entrances .......................................... 87 4.5.3 Wheelchair-accessible levels ......................................................... 87 4.5.4 Wheelchair-accessible aisles ......................................................... 87 4.5.5 Wheelchair-accessible toilets......................................................... 87 4.5.6 Building characteristics connected to compliance.......................... 884.6 Lighting .............................................................................................. 894.7 Signage .............................................................................................. 90 4.7.1 External signage ........................................................................... 91 4.7.2 Internal signage ............................................................................ 914.8 Patron comfort.................................................................................... 934.9 Compliance with codes and regulations............................................... 93 4.9.1 Building Code of Australia ............................................................ 95 4.9.2 Fire rating .................................................................................... 96 4.9.3 Disability access ........................................................................... 98 4.9.4 Occupational health and safety..................................................... 984.10 Community safety........................................................................... 100 -3-
  4. 4. 4.11 Tenure............................................................................................ 1024.12 Future proofing............................................................................... 105 4.12.1 Technology ............................................................................... 105 4.12.2 Environmental sustainability .................................................... 1055. LOCATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS................................................. 1085.1 Proximity to other community facilities ............................................. 1085.2 Way finding/street presence ............................................................. 1095.3 External accessibility ........................................................................ 109 5.3.1 Car parking ................................................................................ 110 5.3.2 Public transport.......................................................................... 1116. ASSET MANAGEMENT .................................................................. 1146.1 Planning ........................................................................................... 1146.2 Assessment ...................................................................................... 1186.3 Maintenance..................................................................................... 1186.4 Utilities spend .................................................................................. 1217. PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT.................................................... 1257.1 Perceived need for redevelopment...................................................... 1257.2 Overview of planned library development .......................................... 1257.3 Timeframe ........................................................................................ 1347.4 Budget ............................................................................................. 1347.5 Planned scope of alterations.............................................................. 136 7.5.1 Floorspace .................................................................................. 136 7.5.2 Internal reconfiguration .............................................................. 1387.6 Delivery ............................................................................................ 1407.7 Locational characteristics ................................................................. 1418. LIBRARY SERVICE AUDITS........................................................... 1438.1 Introduction ..................................................................................... 1438.2 Observations .................................................................................... 1449. BENCHMARKING LIBRARY SERVICE PROVISION ......................... 1469.1 Overview........................................................................................... 1469.2 People places benchmarks ................................................................ 1469.3 Testing People places functional area size guide ................................ 1469.4 Testing People places space standards .............................................. 14910. CONCLUSION.............................................................................. 15210.1 A planning benchmark for Victoria.................................................. 15210.2 Recommended strategies................................................................. 152REFERENCES ................................................................................... 154 -4-
  5. 5. APPENDICES .................................................................................... 157Appendix 1: Survey toolAppendix 2: List of survey respondentsAppendix 3: Tabulated data – LGA surveyAppendix 4: Tabulated data – Branch surveyList of tablesTable 3.1: Total insurance value of building (Q.37) .................................... 40Table 3.2: Value of buildings in an LGA by LGA population (Q.37)............. 41Table 3.3: Year of valuation (Q.37) ............................................................ 41Table 3.4: Capital expenditure on branch libraries (Q.40) .......................... 42Table 3.5: Overall LGA capital expenditure: 2006/07 to 2009/10 (Q.8)...... 45Table 3.6: Future planned expenditure over next five years (Q.44d) ........... 46Table 3.7: Gross Floor Area of branch libraries (Q.11) ............................... 48Table 3.8: LGAs with central operations floorspace (Q.6a) ......................... 48Table 3.9: Size of LGA central operations floorspace (Q.6b)........................ 49Table 3.10: Number of levels utilised by library branches (Q.13a) .............. 49Table 3.11: Publicly accessible levels of library branches (Q.13b)............... 50Table 3.12: Lift access from street (Q.13d)................................................. 50Table 3.13: Lift access – within building (Q.13b)*(Q.13d) ........................... 50Table 3.14: Visitors per week (Q.10) .......................................................... 53Table 3.15: Number of visitors by library size (Q.10)*(Q.11) ....................... 54Table 3.16: Operating hours per week (Q.9) .............................................. 54Table 3.17: Number of visitors by hours of operation (Q.9)*(Q.10).............. 55Table 3.18: Functional area – Collections (Q.12a) ...................................... 56Table 3.19: Functional area – Reading and study (Q.12b) .......................... 56Table 3.20: Functional area – Resource (Q.12c) ......................................... 57Table 3.21: Functional area – Staff (Q.12d) ............................................... 58Table 3.22: Functional area – Amenities (Q.12e) ........................................ 58Table 3.23: Functional area – Other (Q.12f)............................................... 59Table 3.24: Provision of specialist floorspace (Q.14)................................... 60Table 3.25: Collocated or joint-use libraries (Q.16a) .................................. 63Table 3.26: Forms of collocation (Q.16b) ................................................... 66Table 3.27: Collocated area dedicated to library functions (Q.16c) ............. 67Table 4.1: Survey respondents’ perceptions of quality (Q.33a–c) ................ 73Table 4.2: Period of library building construction (Q.19) ............................ 79Table 4.3: Previous uses of library buildings (Q.21c).................................. 80Table 4.4: Requirement for major refurbishment/extension in next fiveyears (Q.43a) ............................................................................................ 82 -5-
  6. 6. Table 4.5: Most recent major refurbishment by age (year built) of library(Q.19) ....................................................................................................... 82Table 4.6: Cost of most recent major refurbishment (Q.22a) ...................... 83Table 4.7: Year access audit undertaken (Q.25b)....................................... 85Table 4.8: Accessible parking nearby (Q.25e)............................................. 86Table 4.9: Survey respondents’ rating of level of lighting in librarybuildings (Q.26) ........................................................................................ 89Table 4.10: Survey respondents’ rating of public information signage(Q.27a–b).................................................................................................. 90Table 4.11: Compliance with relevant building codes and regulations(Q.25) ....................................................................................................... 94Table 4.12: Year Building Code of Australia compliance audit undertaken(Q.23) ....................................................................................................... 95Table 4.13: Year Occupational Health and Safety audit undertaken(Q.32b) ..................................................................................................... 99Table 4.14: Types of security measures within library branch buildings(Q.30) ..................................................................................................... 100Table 4.15: Survey respondents’ rating of safety and security measures(Q.31) ..................................................................................................... 101Table 4.16: Owner of library buildings (Q.18a) ........................................ 102Table 4.17: Lessor of library building (Q.18b) .......................................... 103Table 4.18: Cost of lease (Q.18c) ............................................................. 103Table 4.19: Owner of centralised buildings (Q.6Ca) ................................. 104Table 4.20: Lessor of centralised buildings (Q.6Ca) ................................. 104Table 4.21: Energy audit undertaken (Q.28b) .......................................... 105Table 4.22: Energy-saving measures (Q.28a) ........................................... 106Table 5.1: Proximity to community facilities (Q.34) .................................. 109Table 5.2: Car parking (Q.35a/c/e) ......................................................... 110Table 5.3: Wheelchair-accessible parking (Q.25e) .................................... 111Table 5.4: Proximity to transport (Q.34) .................................................. 111Table 6.1: Duration of asset management plan (Q.36b) ........................... 114Table 6.2: Scope of asset management plan (Q.36b) ................................ 115Table 6.3: Timeframe of asset management plan actions (Q.36b) ............. 115Table 6.4: Building condition surveys (Q.42) ........................................... 118Table 6.5: Annual maintenance costs (Q.38) ........................................... 119Table 6.6: Breakdown of maintenance expenses (Q.38)............................ 120Table 6.7: Estimated backlog of planned maintenance (Q.39) .................. 121Table 6.8: Summary of utilities expenditure (Q.29) .................................. 121Table 6.9: Quarterly expenditure on electricity (Q.29) .............................. 122Table 6.10: Quarterly expenditure on gas and water (Q.29) ..................... 122 -6-
  7. 7. Table 7.1: Planned library development in Victoria (Q.7).......................... 126Table 7.2: Location of planned library development (Q.7)......................... 127Table 7.3: Timeframe of library development (Q.7) ................................... 134Table 7.4: Capital budget (Q.7)................................................................ 135Table 7.5: Internal fit-out budget (Q.7) .................................................... 136Table 7.6: Proposed additional floorspace (Q.7) ....................................... 137Table 7.7: Change in Gross Floor Area after redevelopment (Q.7)............. 138Table 7.8: Type of alterations planned (Q.7) ............................................ 139Table 7.9: Collocated or joint-use facilities planned (Q.7)......................... 140Table 7.10: Locational characteristics of new buildings planned .............. 142Table 9.1: Comparison of core functional areas ....................................... 147Table 9.2: Victorian Target Collection Factor (TCF) .................................. 148Table 9.3: Relationship between floorspace provision and benchmarks –library services ....................................................................................... 149Table 9.4: Testing the People places Building Area Factor........................ 151List of figuresFigure 4.1: Survey respondents’ perceptions of quality (Q.33a–c) ............... 73Figure 4.2: Survey respondents’ perceived finest attributes of librarybuildings (Q.33d) ...................................................................................... 77Figure 4.3: Survey respondents’ perceived worst attributes of librarybuildings (Q.33e) ...................................................................................... 78Figure 4.4: Type of work undertaken at last major refurbishment (Q.22b).. 84Figure 4.5: Survey respondents’ satisfaction with lighting and signage(Q.26, Q.27a–b) ........................................................................................ 90Figure 4.6: Compliance with relevant building codes and regulations(Q.25) ....................................................................................................... 94Figure 4.7: Compliance with relevant codes and regulations by building age(Q.25)*(Q.19) ............................................................................................ 95 -7-
  8. 8. List of case studiesCase study 1: Caroline Springs Library, Melton Library and InformationService ..................................................................................................... 23Case study 2: Kerang Library, Gannawarra Library Service ....................... 31Case study 3: Sydenham Library, Brimbank Libraries............................... 43Case study 4: Drouin Library, West Gippsland Regional LibraryCorporation .............................................................................................. 51Case study 5: West Footscray Library, Maribyrnong Library Service .......... 64Case study 6: Wheelers Hill Library, Monash Public Library Service .......... 69Case study 7: Wangaratta Library, High Country Library Corporation ....... 75Case study 8: Goroke Library, Wimmera Regional Library Corporation ...... 92Case study 9: Nathalia Library, Goulburn Valley Regional LibraryCorporation ............................................................................................ 107Case study 10: The Age (Broadmeadows) Library, Hume Global VillageLibrary Service ....................................................................................... 112Case study 11: East Melbourne Library, Melbourne Library Service......... 116Case study 12: Carnegie Library, Glen Eira Library Service ..................... 123 -8-
  9. 9. Abbreviations/definitionsABS Australian Bureau of StatisticsAmenities areas foyer; lobby; corridors/circulation space; public, staff and accessible toilets; restrooms; plant equipment; storage (for maintenance equipment); and maintenance areasBCA Building Code of AustraliaCollection areas books on shelves; periodicals; non-print materials; toy library; virtual and digital resourcesCollocation multiple services sharing a building, with separate areas for each service These areas need not be physically separated by walls. Collocated libraries typically bring together other Council-related services such as Council Chambers/offices, community centres, arts centres, youth facilities, and/or one-stop-shop services. More recently, collocated libraries have been developed with other government services such as community health centres, home and community care centres, employment services or community technology centres.ERP Estimated Resident PopulationFunctional six broad types of core functional areas are identified byfloorspace People places – collection areas, reading and study areas, resource areas, staff areas, amenities and storage areas, and additional service areasGFA Gross Floor Area The sum of the floor area of each storey of a building, measured from the internal face of external walls, or from the internal face of walls separating the building from any other building, and includes (a) the area of a mezzanine within the storey but EXCLUDES: (b) any area for common vertical circulation, such as lifts and stairs, and (c) vehicular access, loading areas, garbage and services, and (d) plant rooms, lift towers and other areas used exclusively for mechanical services or ducting, and (e) car parking (including access to that car parking), and (f) any space used for the loading or unloading of goods (including access to it), and (g) terraces and balconies, and (h) void spaces. It includes both public and staff spaces and, for this survey, excludes Library Service Level administration space (both on and off-site). -9-
  10. 10. Joint-use two or more distinct library service providers serve their client group in the same building, the governance of which is cooperatively arranged between the separate authorities For example, a joint-use library may be developed between a Library Service and a School to operate a library serving both high school students and the broader community. The service is shared with pooled funding provided by both agencies to cover the capital and recurrent costs of the service.LGA Local Government AuthorityRAF Relative Area Factor The People places guidance identifying the relative allocation of floorspace between the core functional areasReading areas meeting areas; study areas; browsing, display and information areas/exhibition space; young adult area; multi-purpose rooms (training, AV); children’s storytelling area; specialist genre collection area; specialist rooms (e.g. local and family history)Resource areas returns and enquiries desk; service desk; internet terminals; catalogues; printers; photocopiers; vending machines; telephonesSLV State Library of VictoriaStaff areas back of house (e.g. back workrooms, lunch rooms, offices), including staff work areas, office space and storage (for archival materials)TCF Target Collection Factor The People places guidance identifying space required to house a library’s materials collection - 10 -
  11. 11. AcknowledgementsThe project was undertaken for the State Library of Victoria, in partnershipwith the Victorian public library network, and under the auspices of theLibrary Board of Victoria.The project was undertaken by James Lette with the assistance of KathrynHenry. The project was reviewed by Sharyn Briggs of Briggs and Mortar. Theteam thanks Sharyn wholeheartedly for her valuable contribution.The authors would like to extend their thanks to the following: State Library of Victoria Viclink – Victorian Public Library and Information Network Municipal Association of Victoria Local Government Victoria, Department of Planning and Community Development Libraries which participated in the pilot supported by their Councils: − Eastern Regional Libraries: Ferntree Gully Library and Knox City Council − Hobsons Bay Libraries: Altona Meadows Library and Hobson Bay City Council − Goldfields Library Corporation: Kangaroo Flat Library and Greater Bendigo City Council − Gannawarra Library Service: Kerang Library and Gannawarra Shire Council − West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation: Warragul Library and Baw Baw Shire Council Local government staff from Banyule City Council: Arun Chopra and Paul Bruhn who reviewed the survey questionsAnd an especial thanks to all of the public library staff who contributed theirvaluable time and effort into completing the extensive surveys. A completelist of all libraries which participated in the survey is included in Appendix 2. - 11 -
  12. 12. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYProject aimThis report documents the findings of the 2007 Building Audit of Victorianpublic libraries undertaken for the Advisory Committee on Public Libraries, acommittee of the Library Board of Victoria; the Victorian public librarynetwork; and the State Library of Victoria. It is one of a suite of statewideprojects conducted under the auspices of the Library Board of Victoria toassist in the development of the Victorian public library network. The Auditof Victorian public library buildings was undertaken to identify the currentstate of Victorian public library buildings and provide a tool for libraryservice managers to assess their suitability to meet community needs.The project utilises People places: A guide for public library buildings in NewSouth Wales (Library Council of New South Wales 2005), a best practice,comprehensive guide to designing and building suitable structures forlibraries to enable maximum usage by residents and the general public. Thisreport covers the five key areas of floorspace and functions; building design;locational factors; building management and maintenance; and informationon planning and development procedures.The Audit was undertaken via an online survey. A response rate of 94.9% ofLocal Government Authorities (LGAs) and 96.5% of branch libraries wasachieved. In total, 75 LGAs and 244 branch libraries responded.The contribution of public librariesLibraries make a fundamental contribution to our communities. The Auditinformation identifies1 that: The total value of library buildings in Victoria is $522 million – approximately $104 per person. The median value of library buildings is $1.5 million, with values spanning a wide range – two-thirds are worth over $1 million and 10% are valued at less than $250,000. The 45 Victorian library services receive funding of $144,932,834 per annum, or $29 per capita (NSLA 2007:11). We understand that this makes Victoria the lowest funded State in Australia. There was a total capital expenditure of $14,437,881 on 89 branch libraries in 2006/07. The median value per branch was $10,500, and the average was $162,223. If it was assumed that the balance of branches made similar levels of capital expenditure, up to $40 million per annum could be spent on library buildings in Victoria. Limited confidence is held with the accuracy of this estimate given the variations in the data underlying such an assumption, and fluctuations year on year. In the year ending 30 June 2004, there were approximately 24,407,000 visits to public libraries in Victoria, with 2,538,812 registered borrowers (51.5% of the 4,932,422 persons usually resident in Victoria) (ABS 2005:14). Victorian libraries lend 48,743,783 items per annum (or approximately 19 per member), and deal with 2,580,862 enquiries (NSLA 2007:8).1 with some limitations as noted in the body of the report - 12 -
  13. 13. On average, every day every Victorian public library will lend about 500 items, receive nearly 270 visits and respond to nearly 30 reference enquiries (Library Board of Victoria, Executive Summary, 2005:5).The challenges facing public library buildingsHowever, libraries are facing new challenges, as the demographic characterof the community changes and social trends alter, including: ‘population and demographic mix changing more rapidly than ever before; Information and Communications Technology (ICT) reconfiguring the nature of physical space, communications and movement; education moving out of the institutions to affect the whole of society; and leisure, recreation and personal development increasingly fuse in a more individualistic culture’ (CABE & Resource 2003:4).User needs have changed dramatically over the past decade, whereby localand larger public libraries are no longer a facility to solely borrow books orstudy.In response, libraries need to change physically, as well as changing themanner in which they operate.The changing needs of the community have meant many library buildings nolonger meet contemporary needs or current standards. A modern ‘publiclibrary needs accessible, generous and attractive buildings containingdifferent but connected spaces’ (Bundy 2006:1).Are Victorian libraries equipped to face these challenges?The relevance of libraries to today’s community is unquestionable, evident intheir high levels of usage and attraction to a broad range of users from allages and backgrounds.A key question to be answered by the Audit was whether existing librarybuildings are ‘fit for purpose’ and able to meet these challenges.Fit for purpose: Physical condition of public library buildings in VictoriaMany commentators have identified a ‘renaissance’ in which public librarieshave reinvented themselves in the past decade, revising their role as beaconsfor civic pride, social and economic regeneration (Worpole 2005:5). At thesame time, this has resulted in a resurgence of building activity in therecognition that ‘old, tired, outdated buildings are the worst advertisementfor our profession; well maintained, vibrant, relevant buildings the best’(Mackenzie cited in Bundy 2004:16). Consistent with international trends, in2006 Bundy identified that local government across Australia wasendeavouring to replace and rebuild libraries, with about 200 new librarybuildings and rebuilds having been constructed between 2000 and 2006 –many of them excellent and of world standard (Bundy 2006:2).Victoria reflects this global trend, with a number of buildings built recently,and a number more planned for construction over the next five years. - 13 -
  14. 14. The Audit identified that: 19 new branch libraries are planned; 25 existing libraries are to be completely replaced (either at the same site or a new site); and 27 branch libraries are to be refurbished.However, the scope of the task is large. The majority of Victorian buildingstock is old, with just 12.7% constructed after the year 2000. The largestproportion was built in the period 1960–1979 (33.3%).The Audit confirms that the local government landscape in which publiclibraries operate is constrained by infrastructure backlogs, and competitionbetween public libraries and a plethora of other local services which requirefunding. The ongoing development of public libraries in Victoria isconstrained by available funding.The Audit further identifies that: More than one-third of Victorian library branches have not been refurbished since being built; 58.6% of all branches have undergone major refurbishment. Approximately two-thirds (63.9%) of these refurbishments took place in the past seven years. The majority of public libraries in Victoria were purpose built (60.5%). However, this does not appear to be the trend with new buildings, as many of the more recently established libraries in Victoria have not been purpose built. Approximately one-quarter (25.1%) of all non-purpose built libraries were established in the past seven years. It is probable that this is due to the limited availability of capital funding for new buildings. Many newer library buildings have been converted from Council Chambers/Council offices or from existing commercial and retail spaces. This has an affect on floorspace, as library buildings which are purpose built tend to have a larger gross floor area (GFA) than those that were not originally built to contain a library. Disabled accessibility in all respects is generally the exception rather than the rule. Disabled accessibility (particularly wheelchair accessible toilets and adequate aisle widths between shelving) is less compliant in older libraries. In an LGA there is often not one library branch that is wheelchair accessible in all respects. This has important ramifications for both patrons and the employment of people with a physical disability in Victorian libraries. There are quite a large number of libraries where compliance with fire rating, disability and OH&S is not known or not achieved. The purpose of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) audit does not always appear to be understood. Older libraries, particularly those built pre-1940, are least likely to comply with codes and regulations; the newest libraries are most likely to comply with codes and regulations. Compliance with codes and regulations is generally higher among those LGAs with relatively high maintenance expenditure. - 14 -
  15. 15. It is apparent that some libraries are ‘working harder’ than others. The number of people visiting libraries in Victoria ranged from 0.67 to 196.7 people per hour. The median was 1,636 visitors per week. The number of visitors per week on average correlates strongly with the GFA of public libraries.The Audit informed the above quantitative data with a range of qualitativequestions assessing the opinions of branch librarians about the physicalbuilding: its internal layout and design; the overall standard of their librarybranches; and the finest and worst attributes of their building. These viewsmay or may not reflect the views of other stakeholders, such as the libraryservice manager who has responsibility for management of the building andstrategic decisions about its future. However, they add to the overallunderstanding of the state of Victoria’s public library buildings. This is borneout by the Audit’s finding that a respondent’s perception of the quality of thelibrary building is a key factor in their perception of the overall standard oftheir library branch.The results of these qualitative questions were largely positive: Almost one-third (31.8%) of respondents perceived the overall standard of their branch as being excellent, and more than half (57.9%) gave an overall rating of satisfactory. One-quarter (25.4%) of respondents perceived the quality of their physical building to be excellent and more than half (54.9%) rated their building as satisfactory. One-quarter (24.2%) perceived their library’s internal layout and design to be excellent, and approximately half (55.3%) rated as satisfactory. In order of importance, the following are important features of a library building: location, natural light, internal layout, adequate size/space, and accessibility. In order of importance, the following design features affect negative views of a library building: inadequate size/space, poor internal layout, aged/poor building condition, and the quality of its facilities. Almost nine out of ten branches (88.1%) described the level of lighting within the library as either satisfactory or excellent. A number noted that lighting improvements were a key consideration of their recent refurbishments. Almost two-thirds (65.4%) of respondents rated their library’s external signage as either Satisfactory or Excellent. More than three-quarters of respondents (77.4%) described the internal signage within their library branch as either satisfactory or excellent, a higher proportion than ratings for external signage. The vast majority of libraries that gave a rating of poor and provided additional comments indicated that new or improved internal signage was either planned, or was currently being undertaken.The link between a library’s community value and its physical design andlayout is well established in the literature. If it’s not appropriately designedfor need, it won’t be as utilised. - 15 -
  16. 16. Fit for purpose: Social role of library buildings in their communitiesA concept gaining increasing favour is a library being developed as a keyelement in community hubs and learning centres. The Libraries BuildingCommunities project (Library Board of Victoria, Report 2, 2005:46) envisagesthat communities could build hubs that house a range of services such aslibrary services, children’s services, medical centres, maternal supportgroups, drop-in centres, and other learning and community activities.There are significant advantages emerging in collocation: ‘a single largebuilding can be easier to construct, to keep secure and to maintain thanseveral smaller buildings. Sharing car parks, foyers and other commonspaces can make economic sense. Collocated facilities may be moreconvenient for the community.’ Some local authorities are able to includerevenue generating components in a development, such as a cafe, bookshopor gymnasium. ‘More and more libraries are being constructed in shoppingcentres, often as a result of the deal between the local authority and thedeveloper’ (Jones 2004).The Victorian experience revealed by the Audit does not generally reflect thistrend. Joint-use libraries are as uncommon in Victoria as they are inAustralia generally (just 9.8% of branches). Collocated libraries are muchmore common, comprising a significant proportion of libraries (52.3%).In reality, however, of those libraries that are collocated, about half arecollocated with other local government uses and could not be described ashubs. Only 17.3% were collocated with a community centre, and just 4.7%with a community health centre. Only two were collocated with some form oflearning centre/adult education service. While 93.9% provided a children’sstorytelling area or young adult area, none were associated with a broaderyouth service. Collocated libraries do appear more likely to have access tocommunity meeting space.This is not to say that libraries are not making the most of their existingassets in this regard, providing a range of specialist services within theirremit as described in Section 3.3.5.Collocation of newer libraries is very common, and this trend is appearingwith new library buildings. It is a trend which will only be met over time withthe redevelopment of existing building stock.Fit for purpose: Is the floorspace of public library buildings adequate?There is nearly 145,000 sq m of library floorspace in Victoria, in 247 branchbuildings. The average size of a library is 595 sq m (median size of400 sq m). Libraries are generally sized between 250 and 1,000 sq m (44%).84% of branches are located on a single level of a building, predominatelythe ground floor.There is vast variation in the proportional space allocation of functionalareas, even in newer libraries. Some of the older (and particularly smaller)libraries have virtually all of their proportional functional floorspacededicated to collection areas. Many older libraries have low proportions offloorspace for staff areas compared to the Victorian average, and some havenone.There is a tendency in newer areas to much larger libraries, generally over1,000 sq m, and up to 3,500 sq m. Currently, only five libraries (2.1%) areover 2,000 sq m in size. - 16 -
  17. 17. Thirty-three branches (13.8%) are less than the 139 sq m GFA minimum sizerecommended by People places for a public library building. All but one ofthese branches is in rural or regional LGAs; this is related to the very highnumbers of smaller libraries still serving rural areas.Despite perceptions that less space is needed in libraries, there is noevidence that this is true. Library buildings need to provide different types ofspaces to meet the diverse needs of a variety of different users. The literaturesuggests that the number of functions preformed by the modern library, andconsequently the number of spaces within it, is increasing.This is further confirmed by the Audit, which identifies that libraries providefloorspace regularly used for a large variety of specialist services (eitherexclusively or on a shared basis). Just under half of branch libraries (45.2%)contain specialist multi-purpose areas. Most frequently this included: a children’s storytelling area (93.9% of branches); computer labs/internet areas (78.6%); an area for young adults (70.8%); and office space (77.8%).No other type of specialist space was provided by more than half of librarybranches.Despite community demands for a wide range of functions, few branchlibraries (15.2%) have the ability to subdivide multi-purpose areas withintheir building, such as through the use of wall partitions.People places identified six broad types of core functional areas in publiclibraries. There is vast variation in the proportional space allocation offloorspace for functional areas, even in newer libraries. Newer libraries arebetter planned in terms of functional areas. The median values for each typeof functional area are identified in the following table: Reading Collection and study Resource Amenities areas areas areas Staff areas areasMedian sq m 170 50 35 44 50Distribution 42% 18.2% 9.9% 14.7% 15.2%of GFA meanThe most significant observation arising from an analysis of the distributionof functional areas within Victorian libraries is that some spaces are over-represented relative to the area of collection areas (or conversely, it could besaid that collection areas are under-represented relative to other types offunctional areas). This over-representation occurs in all areas other thanstaff areas, which sit at the recommended 35% of the collection areas space.Reading and study areas have 43% of the recommended space compared to30% in People places; resource areas have 23% compared to a recommended15%; and amenities areas have 36% compared to a recommended 20%.Accordingly, the report further considered whether collection areas areunder-represented in Victoria, or whether the other functional areas arerelatively over-represented. It was concluded that the size of collection areasin Victoria is substantially smaller (72.3%) than what is provided for by thespace standard for collections in People places. This can be attributed to - 17 -
  18. 18. People places being developed for application to new libraries, which havemore open designs, and a vertically reduced number of shelving bays.Where are libraries located?People places identifies a number of key locational criteria to be consideredin determining the most appropriate site for a public library, which havebeen examined in the Audit. In respect to these, the Audit reveals: The connection between local government and public libraries clearly translates into locational choice. As expected, a high proportion of libraries were located with or near other Council-provided services (such as administration) and spaces (such as other cultural, recreational or sporting facilities). Surprisingly, Audit responses do not clearly support the growing trend identified in literature of public libraries in both Australia and overseas locating in shopping centres. However, 13.9% of branches are located adjacent to one, and a further 26.6% are within walking distance. About half were located on a main street (shopping/business precinct). Accessibility to schools is lower than expected, with just less than half being located within walking distance (400 metres) of a school. A small number (5.7%) were located within or adjacent to a school. Nine libraries indicated that they were facilities jointly used by a school. Libraries collocating with schools appear to be less accessible to traditional foci such as main streets and shopping precincts. Almost all libraries (95%) are located within walking distance of car parking (86.5% being adjacent). This car parking was provided free of charge at almost all libraries (96.3%). Libraries in traditional main street foci often have inadequate parking, and good accessibility to community foci and facilities could be considered a trade-off against this. Approximately one-quarter (27.9%) indicated that the current provision of car parking available near the library was inadequate. The proportion of libraries located within close proximity to public transport (61.1% within 400 metres), while still significant, was notably less than those libraries accessible by car. Libraries are significantly more likely to be located near a bus stop than a train station. Libraries are generally located on the ground floor with street frontage (94.3%). Newer libraries are better planned in terms of accessibility of location.How are library assets managed?In Victoria, public libraries are largely the responsibility of local government,which must undertake the construction and maintenance of these buildingsfrom their annual budgets, with the assistance of statewide public librarygrant funding.Approximately half (55.7%) of libraries have some form of asset managementplan for their building. A number of Councils operated a generic assetmanagement plan for all buildings, in which the library was included. - 18 -
  19. 19. Building condition surveys are undertaken by library services or localauthorities for almost four-fifths (79.1%) of Victorian library branches.In terms of planning and maintenance, the Audit identified: With rare exception, there is substantial ongoing effort and expenditure being put into the maintenance and upgrading of the standard and provision of libraries to communities. At least $5.7 million is spent each year on maintaining public library buildings in Victoria. This figure is expected to be notably higher, as 34 libraries did not provide their annual maintenance expenditure. On average, approximately $27,232 is spent on the maintenance of each public library branch. On average, $43.50 is spent on maintenance per sq m of library floorspace. Some older libraries (even those built in the 1980s) are incurring high maintenance costs. Existing and planned investment in library infrastructure, and in many cases maintenance, is often lower than average in rural areas. There is vast variation in the cost of utilities to libraries. Many libraries have not undertaken energy audits. On average, libraries spend about $4,600 on electricity, $1,100 on gas, and $500 on water (approximately $5,500 per quarter in total). Utilities expenditure is correlated with floorspace, and, on average, $8 per sq m on utilities. Victorian libraries were planning to undertake expenditure on capital building of nearly $46 million over the next five years and expenditure on internal assets (excluding book stock and other resources) of approximately $5.7 million. The anticipated average capital building budget (where provided) for those libraries planning to undertake work was approximately $1.53 million and the internal works $249,000; however, these ranged from $7.5 million to $100 in the case of capital building works and $1.75 million to $200 in the case of internal assets. The average cost of library refurbishment was approximately $520,000; however, this average is skewed by a number of large refurbishments. More than half (55.5%) of library branches whose buildings had been refurbished indicated that the total cost of refurbishments was less than $500,000.Are there ‘enough’ public libraries in Victoria?A range of planning benchmarks, such as those in People places, have beendiscussed and applied in this report. While notable variation within the Statemakes it difficult to generalise, in comparison to these planning benchmarksit is clear that the current level of floorspace provision in Victoria is less thanadequate. Nearly half of library services do not meet the People placessuggested minimum standard of provision. Overall, the current provision offloorspace in Victoria is 28 sq m per 1,000 people, which is less than theminimum required, which has been estimated to currently be 30 sq m per1,000 people.The Audit has broadly confirmed the accuracy of the planning benchmarksutilised by People places and has not revealed any information whichsuggests that they should be altered. A number of discrepancies do exist,and have been noted in the analysis. - 19 -
  20. 20. We have, however, paid less attention to service-based and population-basedbenchmarks outlined in People places in recommending a State benchmark,as the testing undertaken suggests that they are more appropriate forassessing and designing new buildings, rather than retrospectively assessingexisting buildings. For example, a number of the design standards uponwhich the service-based benchmark is predicated are not appropriate whenapplied to a building designed 20 years previously.Recommended strategies1. Building Area FactorWe recommend that planning standards based upon the Building AreaFactor in People places be relied upon. It is recommended that these beadopted for use in Victoria, namely: Less than 20,000 – provide 42 sq m per 1,000 population Between 20,001–35,000 – provide 39 sq m per 1,000 population Between 35,001–65,000 – provide 35 sq m per 1,000 population Between 65,001–100,000 – provide 31 sq m per 1,000 population More than 100,000 – provide 28 sq m per 1,000 populationThese rates have been analysed in the Victorian context, and it is concludedthat: Provision in small LGAs (i.e. those with less than 10,000 population) and LGAs with between 65,001–100,000 population exceeds the benchmark. Provision in LGAs between 20,001–35,000 population matches the benchmark. All other LGA sizes fall short of the benchmark.We also recommend that a State benchmark of 30 sq m per 1,000 populationbe adopted as a target.It may also prove appropriate to develop a rural and a metropolitanbenchmark, and it is further suggested that consideration be given to this ata later date.These standards should form the starting point for determining what needmight be present in a community. They must be informed by other factorsabout local need.Strategies for improving provision in Victoria should initially aim for paritywith the current State average of 28 sq m per 1,000 population in thoseLGAs which fall short of this target. We regard this as an equitableapproach. This will involve the provision of an additional 19,039 sq m ofgross floorspace.In the longer term, strategies should seek to achieve a target of 30 sq m per1,000 population, and meeting the People places BAF as relevant to an LGA’spopulation size. This will involve the provision of an additional 24,184 sq mof gross floorspace (or 5,145 sq m more than the initial target). These figuresdo not include an allowance for projected population growth. - 20 -
  21. 21. 2. Capacity buildingThe Audit results also point to a need for a range of capacity buildingactivities to be undertaken. Topics identified by the Audit include educationon: Internal library planning, e.g. internal layout and design, and functional space allocation. We suggest that this involve activities which propagate the concepts established within People places. The purpose of the Building Code of Australia and other applicable building codes and regulations. Priority attention should be given to improving disability access compliance, especially given the critical role of libraries in community building and fostering social inclusion. An early target is for each LGA to have one branch which is fully accessible in all respects. This is not currently the case in a number of LGAs. The value of energy audits, their process, and the savings which can be achieved in utility costs.Further detailed guidance could be provided to library services eitherthrough documentation or seminars. Documentation developed need not bea formal report, but could be in the form of a circular or an article in amagazine.3. Community hubs and learning centresThe move towards the concept of libraries as community hubs and learningcentres should be further promoted and facilitated. A useful starting pointwould be to undertake a more detailed review of existing collocated librarieswhich act as hubs, to identify their advantages and disadvantages, anybarriers to their development, implementation and management, and seeksuccessful ways to promote their implementation. This would examine notjust how hubs can be achieved in new libraries, but more importantly giventhe sector funding constraints, how existing infrastructure can be adapted tothe task. Initial guidance may be found in some of the case studiescontained in this report.4. Annual and bi-annual building auditsIt is further recommended that, at a State level, this Audit be undertakenevery two years in order to monitor progress and change in Victoria’s librarybuilding stock. Internal updates of the individual LGA audit reports shouldbe prepared by each library service annually. - 21 -
  22. 22. 1. INTRODUCTION1.1 BackgroundThis report documents the findings of the 2007 Building Audit of Victorianpublic libraries undertaken for the Advisory Committee on Public Libraries, acommittee of the Library Board of Victoria; the Victorian public librarynetwork; and the State Library of Victoria. It is one of a suite of statewideprojects conducted under the auspices of the Library Board of Victoria toassist in the development of the Victorian public library network.The project utilises People places: A guide for public library buildings in NewSouth Wales (Library Council of New South Wales 2005), a best practice,comprehensive guide to designing and building suitable structures forlibraries to enable maximum usage by residents and the general public. Thisreport covers the five key areas of floorspace and functions; building design;locational factors; building management and maintenance; and informationon planning and development procedures.1.2 Aims and research objectivesThe aim of the project was to conduct a comprehensive Audit of Victorianpublic library buildings to identify the current state of Victorian publiclibrary buildings and provide a tool for library service managers to assesstheir suitability to meet community needs.The outcomes of the Audit are: A statewide report to provide: − an overview and trend analysis of Victorian public library service buildings with conclusions about the current state of Victorian public library service buildings; − a current ‘snapshot’ of library floorspace functions and building structure by library service branch against the informally accepted industry standards outlined in the key document People places: A guide for public library buildings in New South Wales; − current planning and development, and the estimated value of Victorian public library buildings; and − case studies of Victorian public library buildings, as selected by a representative selection panel. Individual Local Government Authority (LGA) audit reports to provide library service and branch level data as well as benchmarking against the informally accepted industry standards outlined in People places. These audit reports enable public libraries in Victoria to compare their library buildings with published standards.It is intended that this report will provide a basis for improvements toVictorian public library buildings in terms of floorspace, capacity, safetyregulations, and services provisions of the future. - 22 -
  23. 23. Case study 1: Caroline Springs Library, Melton Library and Information Service(Photographer: Emma Cross)Gross floor area: 2,500 sq mUser catchment: Melton East Corridor At present approaching 40,000 people with growth expected to 60,000 within the next 10 yearsCost: Approx $12 million including fit-out and establishment collection of 35,000 itemsArchitect: Suters Prior Cheney Architects 26 Liddiard Street Hawthorn VIC 3122 Principal design architect: Mark van den EndenDate completed: January 2008Usage: 500–600 visitors per dayCaroline Springs Library is an outstanding example of the modern trend forpublic libraries to be community hubs, collocated with other communityservices and offering users excellent facilities and resources in a pleasantand relaxing environment.The library is an iconic structure inspired by local geographic features andpresenting a unique frontage to the street, set in an integrated landscapeand incorporating excellent access from two entry points. The building usesnatural light extensively and its interior form and fittings reinforce andcomplement the external design features to create a space that is light-filled,bright, airy; comfortable and visually interesting. - 23 -
  24. 24. Caroline Springs Library continuedThe building also serves as the school library for the adjacent senior campusof the Caroline Springs Secondary College; houses the Caroline SpringsCollege Director; Council’s customer service centre, which is open at alltimes when the library is open; seven community meeting spaces withcapacity from 5–70 people; a computer training facility for up to 50 people;an audiovisual studio and a cafe.(Photographer: Emma Cross)It also incorporates the latest in ICT equipment into its spaces andfunctions, including the latest in self-serve RFID technology; a teen loungethat has three Playstation3 consoles; audiovisual suites for use by the publicto enable production of audio and video works; built-in projection and soundcapacity into the community spaces; public wireless internet connectivity;and an integrated booking and print management system for all public PCfacilities. In addition, all shelving within the library is moveable and modularto enable maximum flexibility for use of the library spaces.(Photographer: Emma Cross) - 24 -
  25. 25. 1.3 Study context and policy framework1.3.1 The changing role and nature of the public library buildingReports of the death of the library have been greatly exaggerated… Thetechnological revolution of the 1980s and 1990s was widely seen as soundingthe death knell for the public library as we knew it… These predictions haveproved unfounded… Imaginatively designed and responsive public libraryservices can play a pivotal role in promoting greater social cohesion and astronger sense of civic pride and local identity (Worpole 2005:5).Libraries are facing new challenges; as the demographic character of thecommunity changes and social trends alter, so do the requirements forpublic library buildings. The United Kingdom’s Council for Museums,Archives and Libraries noted in 2003 that population and demographic mixwas changing more rapidly than ever before; information andcommunications technology was reconfiguring the nature of physical space,communications and movement; education was moving out of theinstitutions to alter the whole of society; and leisure, recreation and personaldevelopment were increasingly fusing in a more individualistic culture(CABE & Resource 2003:4).Regardless of these changes, there is no consideration that the physicallibrary building is a thing of the past. Indeed the modern public library hasbeen fairly described as the anchor of the community, and by Australiansocial commentator Hugh McKay, as the ‘new village green’ (Bundy 2006:1).There have been many recent attempts to identify the value of the publiclibrary. Cox (2000) undertook a landmark study in 2000 which showed thatlibraries contribute to social capital in many ways. The United Kingdom’sDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport, among many others, noted in2003 that libraries are acknowledged as safe, welcoming, neutral spacesopen to all in the community. Various studies are also finding ways tomeasure the economic contribution of libraries, including McCallum andQuinn (2001) and dmA Planning, Research and ManagementServices (2007).In 2005, the State Library of Victoria undertook the Libraries BuildingCommunities (LBC) project, the first comprehensive Australian study of thevalue the public libraries add to their communities (Library Board ofVictoria 2005). This project noted that ‘public libraries hold an importantplace in people’s hearts’ and make a fundamental contribution to ourcommunities (Audit Commission UK cited in Library Board of Victoria,Report 1, 2005:5). In line with community building as one of the keystrategic directions of the Victorian Government, libraries provide spacewhere citizens can gather and work on personal and community problems.They also ‘provide a wide range of innovative, creative programs that bringcitizens together and break down the barriers of age, ethnicity, culture,socio-economic status, language and geography’ (Kranich cited in LibraryBoard of Victoria, Report 1, 2005:16).In the words of People places (Library Council of New South Wales 2005:7),‘public libraries are one of the most well used educational, cultural andsocial facilities available within our community. The relevance of libraries totoday’s community is considered to be evident in their high levels of usageand attraction to a broad range of users from all ages and backgrounds’, as - 25 -
  26. 26. evidenced in Victoria by the LBC project which identified that ‘on average,every day every Victorian public library will lend about 500 items; … receivenearly 270 visits from a total of 2.5 million registered users (over half theVictorian population) and respond to nearly 30 reference enquiries’ (LibraryBoard of Victoria, Executive Summary, 2005:5).Consequently, it is not surprising that many commentators have identified a‘renaissance’ in which public libraries have reinvented themselves in thepast decade, revising their role as beacons for civic pride, social andeconomic regeneration (Worpole 2005:5). At the same time, this has resultedin a resurgence of building activity in the recognition that ‘old, tired,outdated buildings are the worst advertisement for our profession; wellmaintained, vibrant, relevant buildings the best’ (Mackenzie cited inBundy 2004:16). Consistent with international trends, in 2006 Bundyidentified that local government across Australia was endeavouring toreplace and rebuild libraries; with about 200 new library buildings andrebuilds having been constructed between 2000 and 2006 – many of themexcellent and of world standard (Bundy 2006:2). However, he also identifiedat least 400 libraries waiting to be replaced or rebuilt.In Victoria, public libraries are largely the responsibility of local government,which must undertake the construction and maintenance of these buildingsfrom their annual budgets, with the assistance of statewide public librarygrant funding. The changing needs of the community have meant manylibrary buildings no longer meet contemporary needs or current standards. Amodern ‘public library needs accessible, generous and attractive buildingscontaining different but connected spaces’ (Bundy 2006:1).Recurring themes throughout the literature regarding the necessities ofmodern public library buildings include user needs, space and costs(Jones 2004). The local government landscape in which public librariesoperate is constrained by infrastructure backlogs, and competition betweenpublic libraries and a plethora of other local services which require funding.‘With changing demographic and social trends, ever-increasing financialconstraints for government and rapidly changing information technology, thedesign and function of libraries must change to meet these and new otherchallenges’ (Library Council of New South Wales 2005:7).User needs have changed dramatically over the past decade, whereby localand larger public libraries are no longer a facility to solely borrow books orstudy. Libraries are now more people focused, with extra services andfacilities for the local community. They are, in a way, becoming a hub forcommunity life. Jones (2004) identifies the differences between ‘user needs’and ‘user wants’ within local libraries, and asserts it is a mistake to comparelocal libraries without assessing the real needs of the people who utilise thelibrary. There is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to library planning,and this had been recognised over the past few years.Space requirements are usually limited by the location of the current orproposed library and perhaps the city it is in. Space for development inmetropolitan areas is no longer available at reasonable prices as it was in thepast. However, with library services changing, there are now greaterdemands for space within local libraries. Scarcity of land has encouragedlocal authorities to collocate more than one facility on the same site, oftenwith other State or municipal services or community activities (Jones 2004).There are significant advantages emerging in collocation: ‘a single largebuilding can be easier to construct, to keep secure and to maintain than - 26 -
  27. 27. several smaller buildings. Sharing car parks, foyers and other commonspaces can make economic sense. Collocated facilities may be moreconvenient for the community.’ Some local authorities are able to includerevenue generating components in a development, such as a cafe, bookshopor gymnasium. ‘More and more libraries are being constructed in shoppingcentres, often as a result of the deal between the local authority and thedeveloper’ (Jones 2004).The United Kingdom’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2003:6)claims that the best libraries are showing the way forward. ‘Eye-catchingnew library buildings have opened in a number of cities and other placeswhich are seeking to radically redefine the ways in which library services aredelivered.’ Whichever way this is, it seems clear that ‘buildings will alwaysplay an important role, whether as adaptations or refurbishments of existingbuilding stock, joint ventures with other public or commercial services inshared or collocated premises, or in dedicated new library buildings whichspeak to the changing needs of the 21st century’ (Worpole 2005:6).1.3.2 Framework for Collaborative ActionThe Framework for Collaborative Action (Library Board of Victoria andVictorian Public Library Network 2006:3) defines the way in which theLibrary Board of Victoria, through the State Library of Victoria, works withthe public library network to deliver improved library services to Victoria’scommunities.The undertaking of the Building Audit of Victorian public libraries respondsto the top three goals and priorities of the Framework for CollaborativeAction (2006:6), namely: enhanced collections; improved access options; andseamless service to users.1.3.3 Libraries Building CommunitiesA collaborative research project of the Library Board of Victoria and theVictorian public library network, the Libraries Building Communities (LBC)project is aimed at meeting the challenges facing libraries today. The LBCproject was the first comprehensive Australian study that examined thevalue that public libraries add to their communities. Through extensivesurveys with Victorian public library services and the Victorian public, thestudy found that libraries and librarians make a fundamental contributionto communities in four key areas. They: provide free public access to computer and information technology resources; create better informed communities by helping people locate information; promote life long learning and literacy in the community through the programs they run; and build connections between individuals, groups and government (Library Board of Victoria, Executive Summary, 2005:5).There are four main reports and an Executive Summary in the initial LBC(Library Board of Victoria 2005) series: Report 1: Setting the Scene covers the concept of community building, the Victorian Government’s policy agenda, the Victorian public library network, project methodology, and relevant research. - 27 -
  28. 28. Report 2: Logging the Benefits outlines the community views on the role and benefits of public libraries. Report 3: Bridging the Gaps provides socio-economic demographic profiles of library users and non-users, as well as strategies for bridging the perceived gaps in public library service delivery. Report 4: Showcasing the Best gives over 30 examples of innovation and excellence in Victorian public libraries.In 2006, further research was undertaken resulting in the Libraries BuildingCommunities Library User Census and Survey Project, which produced twoadditional reports: Report 1: Statewide Analysis and Comparisons. Report 2: Library Services Data and Reports.Together, these reports provide a systematic evidence base at both thestatewide and library service level concerning the users, uses and benefits oflibrary services (Library Board of Victoria 2006:4), and are integral to thedevelopment of benchmarks of library provision in Section 9 of this report.1.3.4 People placesPeople places: A guide for public library buildings in New South Wales(hereinafter referred to as People places), researched and prepared byHeather Nesbitt Planning and Bligh Voller Nield, was commissioned by theLibrary Council of New South Wales in 2000 to promote planning techniquesand practical guidelines for the development of library buildings. It sets outinformation not only on the design of buildings but also the processesrequired to develop successful library development projects.In 2005, it was felt that an update to People places would be useful as itwould be possible to include an evaluation of libraries which had used theoriginal edition in the planning of their buildings. Its success as a planningframework and benchmark has encouraged other States in Australia totackle the changing trends and needs of the community with respect topublic libraries (Library Council of New South Wales 2005).People places identifies the key objectives for future public libraries as beingbuildings which: ‘Provide a cultural hub and focal point for the community Are functional and multipurpose accommodating a range of activities and uses Enable access to the latest in technology in a user-friendly manner Attract a wide range of users providing areas for relaxation, research, leisure and learning Are effective and efficient in the delivery of services Develop from a co-operative approach between all stakeholders to ensure that the changing needs of the community are met’ (Library Council of New South Wales 2005:7). - 28 -
  29. 29. The second edition identified emerging trends impacting on the design andfunction of public libraries in New South Wales (and equally relevant inVictoria) including: Public libraries as places of social capital, where people from a range of backgrounds can meet, network and potentially develop relationships with other members of the community. Ageing of the community, as the number of older residents with significant leisure time increases and also the increase in the level of disability in our community, specific consideration of physical design issues and specific services for older residents and people with a disability is required. Development of a youth culture, with young people as major consumers of information technology who hold social attitudes that are often different from other groups in the community can mean different services and spaces are required. The expanding role of information technology in our society. The increasing library needs of our multicultural society, particularly on multilingual collections. Recognition and celebration of our indigenous community, with a need to ensure public libraries located in communities with large indigenous populations are attractive, welcoming and relevant to all members of the community. Growing competition from other sources of information, education and entertainment in a rapidly changing world. Increasing cultural development in our communities. A growing regionalisation of settlement patterns in coastal communities, and declining populations and a changing economic base in rural areas. The NSW policy of compact cities and the impacts of urban consolidation (Library Council of New South Wales 2005:7–14).A key element of People places has been the provision of a planning processfor the development of public libraries, and, in particular, a process ofidentifying needs which can be translated into the design and functionalfloor areas required in a new/expanded library facility. People placesprovides a suite of four different tools for assessing need, including: Identified need, expressed by stakeholders such as library staff, community groups and Council officers. Normative need, based on socio-demographic information and recognised statistical indicators about library usage, provision per capita, etc. Comparative need, based on comparing service provision with other communities with similar socio-demographic characteristics. Benchmark-based need, using specific tools related to the services provided by public libraries and the population served by a library, this tool provides two different approaches to determining the actual floor area of public library (Library Council of New South Wales 2005:17).The first of the latter tools, a service-based benchmark, is related toVictorian public library buildings in Section 9.4. The second, a population- - 29 -
  30. 30. based benchmark, is also discussed in Section 9.4. Both are integral indeveloping a benchmark for library service provision in Victoria.1.3.5 Snapshot of the Victorian public library networkPublic library services in Victoria are provided by all 79 Local GovernmentAuthorities, through 45 library services. Of these, 30 are structured asstandalone (single) municipal council services, 14 as public librarycorporations through which services are provided to a number of membercouncils; and the Vision Australia Information Library Service, whichdelivers information and library services in alternate formats to people with aprint disability.There are 247 public library branches operating in Victoria, with anadditional 27 mobile services and 20 deposit stations. In the year ending30 June 2004, there were approximately 24,407,000 visits to public librariesin Victoria, with 2,538,812 registered borrowers (51.5% of the 4,932,422persons usually resident in Victoria) (ABS 2005:14).Victorian libraries lend 48,743,783 items per annum (or approximately 19per member), and deal with 2,580,862 enquiries. The 45 library servicesreceive funding of $144,932,834 per annum, or $29 per capita. Datacompiled by the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA 2007)identifies that Victoria is the lowest funded State in Australia. The tablebelow provides comparative data for each State. ACT NSW NT Qld SA Tas Vic WA Aust2005/06 $45.22 $37.56 $31.14 $38.63 $39.06 $31.05 $28.43 $43.02 $36.071.4 Previous audits of public library buildings1.4.1 Audit of Public Library Buildings in New South WalesIn 2006, BBC Consulting Planners was appointed by the State Library ofNew South Wales to undertake an audit of public library buildings in NewSouth Wales, based on the standards and benchmarks established in Peopleplaces. In collaboration with the Steering Committee, comprisingrepresentatives from the State Library of New South Wales, Public LibrariesNew South Wales – Metropolitan, Public Libraries New South Wales –Country (formerly known as the Country Public Libraries Association), andthe Local Government and Shires Associations, BBC developed anappropriate methodology and online survey tool to encompass the needs ofthe Committee’s audit requirements and to reflect the benchmarks reportedin People places.The online survey was undertaken during November and December 2006and the results analysed and presented as a draft report in August 2007 asthe first Audit of Public Library Buildings in New South Wales. The survey,which involved 366 central and branch libraries, asked questions relating tofloorspace and functions, buildings, locational factors and planning anddevelopment.Reference was made to this document in undertaking the Victorian audit inorder to ensure some consistency and comparability of results. - 30 -
  31. 31. Case study 2: Kerang Library, Gannawarra Library ServiceGross floor area: 682.6 sq mUser catchment: Kerang and the shire of Gannawarra is a remote rural community whose economy revolves around primary industry. Shire of Gannawarra pop. 12,500Cost: $1.5 millionArchitect: Greenway Hirst and PageDate completed: August 2003Usage: 85,700 annually (2005/06)Early stages of planning identified community needs which, if met by thelibrary design, would deliver reciprocal benefits to the library as a vital anddynamic presence in the community.The architect’s brief was for a design which would complement the historicwater tower existing on the site and, in addition to library facilities, provideareas which would benefit and support the wider community.At no time did the library actively seek donations from the community butthere has been a great deal of community contribution to the building in thecreation and donation of a number of unique features. This library wasachieved through State Government funding, total commitment by the ShireCouncil, time and dedication by library staff, and strong community support. - 31 -
  32. 32. Kerang Library continuedLarge windows deliver natural light and those surrounding the recreationalreading area create the illusion of actually being outside. The deep jewelcolours of the interior provide a warm and welcoming environment.Meeting room facilities, which include work space areas, are in regular useand historical researchers are increasingly taking advantage of more efficientaccess to historical and genealogical resources provided by a purpose builtarea. Both the Library and the wider community benefit from theopportunities the gallery offers for displays of art and craft. - 32 -
  33. 33. 1.4.2 Previous audits in VictoriaIn 2001, the Victorian Department of Infrastructure undertook a survey ofpublic library buildings. This identified basic information and a summary ofkey issues relating to age and condition, including: the size of existing library branches; their age; whether they are heritage listed; a summary of their problems; and the approximate cost of repairs required to bring the property to reasonable condition.The survey identified significant problems with the age and condition ofmany Victorian libraries. In response, the Victorian Government initiated aLiving Libraries Public Library Infrastructure Program which recognised thatmany of the State’s current library buildings were inappropriate fordelivering library services that the community requires in the 21st century.This funding program has contributed to the renewal of public libraryinfrastructure in many of Victoria’s public libraries. Grants under the LivingLibraries Program are ‘designed to assist Victorian councils and regionallibraries in the provision of high quality and accessible public libraryfacilities that support the role of public libraries in strengtheningcommunities’, and ‘aim to: provide new or improved public library infrastructure; and support the role of the public library in strengthening communities as a meeting place, facilitator of life long learning and provider of free access to information and reading resources’ (Department of Planning and Community Development 2008:3).‘Examples of the types of projects that will be considered for funding include: The construction of a new library for a community that does not have a public library building. The construction of a library building to replace an existing library. The conversion of an existing non library building for use as a library. The renovation/refurbishment or extension of an existing library building. The incorporation of a public library space as an element of a broader community facility. A new mobile library. Interior refurbishment of an existing mobile library. Partial replacement of the mobile library (e.g. replacement of engine, prime mover, trailer).Projects that demonstrate flexibility and innovation in meeting the longerterm needs of the community are particularly sought, as are proposals forlibraries that are part of a larger community facility or retail complex’(Department of Planning and Community Development 2008:4). - 33 -
  34. 34. 1.5 Structure of the reportThis report is structured as follows:Section 1: provides an introduction to the project, including its Terms ofReference, context and background. It identifies the key policy frameworkwithin which the project is being undertaken, and several key documentswhich provide a point of reference and source of information.Section 2: details the approach undertaken to the Audit, including itsmethodology, response rate and limitations.Section 3: discusses the role of public library buildings in Victoria,including current value of buildings; past and ongoing capital expenditure;the amount spent on libraries as a proportion of total LGA budget; andplanned future expenditure. It identifies how buildings are currently utilised,including their size, and includes an overview of functional areas andspecialist uses of space. The report then tests the Functional Area SizeGuide contained in People places. Finally, it reviews the role of librarybuildings in their communities, including comparison to trends evident inthe literature. The section also reviews administration arrangements forpublic libraries, including on-site or off-site administration and storage.Section 4: provides a physical assessment of buildings, including user viewson quality, condition and type of building; accessibility and mobility issues;facilities such as lighting, signage and user comfort; compliance with Codesand Regulations such as the Building Code of Australia, fire rating, disabilityand Occupational health and safety requirements; and tenure. It reviewswhether buildings are future proof in terms of technology, the changing roleof libraries in the community, and environmental sustainability. Finally, itconcludes on the basis of the above whether buildings are in fact ‘fit forpurpose’.Section 5: reviews locational characteristics of public libraries, includingproximity to other community facilities; street frontage; and accessibilityboth by car, public transport and disability access. It draws conclusionsabout whether buildings are in fact in the ‘right’ place in relation to generallyaccepted location criteria.Section 6: provides information on asset management, specifically assetmanagement planning and maintenance.Section 7: reviews current planning and development processes, includingplanned refurbishment; new buildings planned; and planned replacementother on the same or a new site. Details provided include the types of worksplanned; timeframe; Gross Floor Area; budget; and locational attributes ofnew sites where relevant.Section 8: provides an overview of the results of individual LocalGovernment Authority audit reports.Section 9: develops a benchmark of library service provision for Victoria. Itoverviews the limitations of the audit methodology in this regard; appliesboth service-based and population-based benchmarks, overall and by libraryservice/LGA; and derives a suggested planning benchmark for Victoria.Section 10: is the conclusion to the statewide report. It draws implicationsfrom the above and identifies appropriate strategies.Interspersed in the report are case studies of Victorian public librarybuildings as selected by an independent selection panel. - 34 -
  35. 35. Individual Local Government Authority audit reports were distributedelectronically to each relevant library service manager/CEO in May/June2008.The survey tool; a complete list of survey respondents; and tabulated data atthe Local Government Authority and branch library level, is appended. - 35 -
  36. 36. 2. STUDY APPROACH2.1 MethodologyThe Audit was undertaken via an online survey undertaken from 28 May to1 August 2007. The Audit was conducted in consultation with theCollections and Access – Standards Workgroup and State Library of Victoriaproject staff.The project was developed over a number of phases: Initial consultation and literature review. Development of survey themes. Pilot survey. Final online survey. Data analysis and output report.Initially, survey themes were drawn from a workshop with the Workgroup, aliterature review of building audit methodologies and the ideas in Peopleplaces (Library Council of New South Wales 2005), and experiences in NewSouth Wales with a similar audit. Following this, a draft survey wasdeveloped and reviewed by the Workgroup.A pilot survey was undertaken from 4 to 11 May 2007, comprising fivelibrary services: Eastern Regional Libraries: Ferntree Gully Library and Knox City Council. Hobsons Bay Libraries: Altona Meadows Library and Hobson Bay City Council. Goldfields Library Corporation: Kangaroo Flat Library and Greater Bendigo City Council. Gannawarra Library Service: Kerang Library and Gannawarra Shire Council. West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation: Warragul Library and Baw Baw Shire Council.Feedback about the content and ease-of-use of the survey was elicited fromthe participating branches and a number of improvements made.The final survey comprised two parts: Information relating to each Local Government Authority (LGA) in Victoria. Information relating to each branch library within each library service in Victoria.A separate survey was completed for each LGA and for each library branchpremises. Some of the LGA level information was available from othersources, and was, therefore, not sought again. - 36 -
  37. 37. The LGA survey was divided into four parts: Part A. Assessment of Population-based Benchmark of Library Provision. Part B. Assessment of Service-based Benchmark of Library Provision. Part C. Audit of Administration Buildings. Part D. Planning and Development.The branch survey was divided into five parts: Part A. Floorspace and Function, intended to obtain information on the floorspace of the library premises and the various functions provided at the premises. Part B. Design of the Building, intended to obtain information on the age and condition of the building within which the library is located as well as the extent to which the library premises complies with current building design principles. Part C. Location of the Building, intended to obtain information on the location of the library premises. Part D. Building Management and Maintenance, intended to obtain information on the management and maintenance of the library premises. Part E. Planning and Development, intended to obtain information on library development planning.Explanatory notes were provided where necessary to explain questions andassist information collection. Survey respondents’ were required tocollaborate with Council’s building or asset manager, or their library servicemanager to source some information.2.2 Response rateThe survey went online from 28 May 2007. The survey was initially to becompleted over four weeks, by Tuesday 26 June 2007. However, in order toensure as high a response rate as possible, this was extended to 1 August2007.The State Library of Victoria invested considerable time and effort in severalrounds of follow-up telephone calls and emails encouraging the completionof outstanding responses from all libraries. A final response rate of 94.9%of LGAs and 96.5% of branch libraries was achieved. In total, 75 LocalGovernment Authorities and 244 branch libraries responded.Due to extenuating circumstances, Corangamite Regional LibraryCorporation was unable to complete both the LGA and branch level surveysin the timeframe allocated. As a result, four LGAs and ten branches are notincluded.Surveys were returned for ‘branches’ at Churchill (Latrobe City Council,Latrobe City Library Service) and Goldfields Mobile (City of Greater Bendigo,Goldfields Library Corporation). Following data analysis, it was determinedthat these branches should not be defined as buildings in the terms of thisAudit; their inclusion within the dataset has a negligible effect on theanalysis. - 37 -
  38. 38. 2.3 Study limitationsThe analysis of the survey responses has revealed a number of limitations tothe study which are important to note: Responses were non-compulsory, allowing respondents to skip some questions, accidentally or otherwise, which may have affected the response rate for some questions. Some questions, particularly those related to financial information, had low response rates. Feedback from respondents identified that this was either because the information was not available, or could not be obtained from other Council departments within the survey timeframes. Analysis suggests that a small number of questions are likely to exhibit a degree of data entry error. For example, estimates of functional floorspace areas (sq m) exceeding the total GFA of the branch, and the frequency of non-resident membership at abnormally high levels. The content of some questions, particularly with regards to areas such as building design, were beyond the scope of knowledge of many library managers.Other limitations relate largely to possible misinterpretation of questionswhich may have affected some responses. These have been noted, whererelevant, in the textual analysis in the following sections. - 38 -

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