We would like to hear your views about this approach to creating a shared
vision and national framework for Australian public libraries. Please feel free to
circulate this document to your members and to anyone outside your own
organisation whose opinions would be valuable.
See the paper at:
We have so much to contribute to government priorities – social inclusion, community partnerships,
fairness and equitable access, support for working families, health, safety, well-
being, life-long learning and the digital economy.
Social inclusion – it’s what Libraries do, and not just because they are cool in summer and warm in winter.
As Senator Stephens said in a speech, discussing “the crucial role of libraries as community hubs, neutral spaces, places of learning and for gaining access to the internet and other sources of e-learning.”
Neutral spaces are a vital community factor, misperceived for their vitalness to society, for where else does it exist, no other covered public space remains where people may legitimately congregate without direct purpose. The old venues where all could freely mingle (the church, the market place) are no longer the hubs they were. One is no longer the institution visited by all, the other is now a large sterile commercial hub, mediated to seperate people from their money and from each other, and with security staff on guard specifically to prevent people congregating for any purpose other than bargain hunting.
This feeds into the concept of ‘Library as place’ a little understood idea in Australia, but one widely studied and recognised in the US.