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NT Government looking to improve public library services with new strategic framework

NT Government looking to improve public library services with new strategic framework

Featured image of Alice Springs Library by RISG licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Building on the successful partnership between Local Governments and the Northern Territory Government in the delivery of public library services, the Northern Territory Library has released a new strategic framework for the development of Territory public libraries, Connected Communities: Vision for Northern Territory Public Libraries 2017-2023.

The strategy is the culmination of a consultation process undertaken during 2016 with communities and local governments, to find out what Territorians want from their library services and to identify the challenges faced in the delivery of these services.

Key findings of the research included a desire to grow library collections, particularly to be responsive to the needs of the Territory’s remote communities and our culturally diverse population; strong support for libraries’ role in providing services to children and building a family reading culture; and the widespread need for the availability of access to the internet and to digital technology for all sections of the community.

Department of Tourism and Culture, Director Northern Territory Library, Patrick Gregory said there was no doubt that the role of libraries was changing and growing.

“With over one million visits each year, the Territory’s public libraries are among our most valued social institutions.”

“Connected Communities provides a framework for the Territory Government to continue its support for the development of Territory public library services and I am pleased to share this strategic vision that will take us into the future,” Mr. Gregory said.

There are 32 public libraries across the Territory which are funded and supported by both the Northern Territory Government and local governments. The Territory Government also funds free community internet as a core public library service to many remote communities that do not currently have libraries.

Alice Springs Town Council Director Corporate & Community Services, Skye Price, said the Vision document provided a sound overview and guideline for current public library service delivery.

“I’m pleased to see that this Vision highlights the genuine appreciation and benefits currently derived from public libraries,” Ms. Price said.

“It includes considered, relevant proposals for future services and structures, as well as the greater good of our diverse communities, right throughout the Northern Territory.”

The vision document – Connected Communities: Vision for Northern Territory Public Libraries 2017-2023 confirms the many ways in which libraries add value to their communities and identifies areas for future development. According to the document, some of the future services and opportunities identified were:

  • Create a public libraries collection development framework which includes the development of an extensive digital library collection that is accessible to all Territorians regardless of location; an increase in collections available in community languages; and an increase in audiovisual collections in Aboriginal community library services.
  • Investigate opportunities for the provision of library services to currently under-served communities through further extension of community internet services to unserviced communities and by seeking partnerships with other government and community organisations for the delivery of library programs to communities with no library building.
  • Continue to develop innovative technology learning programs, both for younger audiences and for other members of the community who wish to improve their digital skills.
  • Increase partnerships with local employment and business organisations to increase the number of employment related programs within libraries.

Connected Communities will inform the development of a new five year funding agreement for public libraries commencing in 2018.

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