Open Libraries are cutting edge

A little over a year ago Council launched its Open Libraries program, which has transformed our libraries in an amazing way.

Our Open Libraries are no longer just a place to borrow a book or find information about a particular subject or interest.

Our libraries are now modern, cutting edge facilities with improved digital accessibility, apps, extended opening hours and more ways to connect and access resources than ever before.

The introduction of apps and internet links also means you can visit the library from your lounge room and download books, newspapers and magazines and more.

Free Wi-Fi and free use of PCs and iPads is available at Open Libraries, and more customer friendly policies have been introduced, such as allowing food and drinks to be consumed within the libraries.

Wireless printing is available and "Tap-and-Go" membership cards have been implemented in preparation for customers to enter the Whitlam Library once a trial of extended opening hours is introduced.

A Smart Bar service has been introduced. This is a oneon- one customer help service where library staff can explain how to use library apps and resources such as the 3M Cloud Library and Press Reader.

Our Open Libraries are the first libraries outside of North America to implement the innovative eBook service 3M Cloud Library, and Press Reader provides customers with the ability to read thousands of newspapers and magazines in their own language from around the world.

At Whitlam Library in Cabramatta refurbishments that include modernising group study spaces and introducing viewing areas should be completed by the end of November and work will start soon on building a café.

Two NAO Robots have arrived and staff are preparing them for customer workshops and training.

Plans for 2017-18 at Whitlam Library include a digital media lab, where people can develop and create recordings and digital content in a fully equipped studio and editing suite.

Designs are also being created for multifunctional spaces and co-working rooms to support local businesses.

Big changes are also in the pipeline for Fairfield Library.

The 2016-17 Operational Plan includes a project for a concept plan at the new site for the Library.

Council has bought a new building that will provide 1,000sq m of floor space, an increase from the existing 660sq m.

The current Fairfield Library site will also be available for other community uses.

Libraries have changed a lot and Council's Open Libraries are leading the way – if you haven't been to one for a while I invite you to take a look; you'll be pleasantly surprised.


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