Sunbury Global Learning Centre. Photo / Sunbury Life.

Council to explore 24/7 libraries

Hume City Council is to investigate 24/7 library services. The decision follows a request by mayor Naim Kurt.

The council operates library services at eight locations, including three Global Learning Centres (including one in Sunbury). In addition there is one community library and three remote library kiosks.

At a meeting of the council on Monday 26 February, Kurt said that while Hume Libraries offers a service that is accessible to a large percentage of the community, branch opening hours can still be unsuitable for shift workers and people requiring extended study time.

“There are industry examples of other library services, including in Victoria, that have implemented successful 24-hour library access to one or more branches,” said Kurt.

“I’ve been a big supporter of our council’s commitment to life-long learning and breaking cycles of disadvantage within our Hume community.

“Our Global Learning Centres have long been at the forefront of this commitment providing the spaces and opportunities for our community to come together, learn, improve literacy, meet people, socialise, and discover new skills, interests and hobbies.”

Kurt said he has always been interested in making library services more accessible, and remembers that scrapping library fines saw a 71% increase in library membership.

“Tonight I am here to address another accessibility issue, namely library operating hours. I have always been a big admirer of the library’s After Dark program, and wanted to see ways we could make our libraries open beyond the 4pm closing time at weekends, and 8pm on weekdays.

“I know many in our community find these opening hours a barrier to accessing library services. There are many larger families with limited study space at home, and many residents who work in transient, temporary, or shift jobs making it difficult for them to visit our libraries during standard hours.”

Kurt’s notice of motion was seconded by Sunbury Cllr Jarrod Bell, among his portfolio is life-long learning.

He said: “Anything that expands the offering of our library service, I am keen to learn more about.

“I am not yet at a 24-hour library, but I would like to see what this could look like and how we can make it work in a safe, operational and functional way.”

The following motion was carried:

I move that Council:
Notes that:
a. Hume Libraries currently operate across eight physical locations, including three Hume Global Learning Centres (Broadmeadows, Craigieburn, Sunbury), one standalone branch library (Tullamarine), one community library (joint-use with the school library in the Gladstone Park Secondary College) and three remote library kiosks (at the community centres in Kalkallo, Mickleham North and Greenvale West).
b. Whilst Hume Libraries provide a service that is accessible to a large percentage of the Hume community, including a good geographic spread of services, and branches that are open at nights and across the weekend, their branch hours can still be unsuitable for shift workers and people requiring extended study time.
c. There are industry examples of library services, including services in Victoria, that have implemented 24-hour library access to one or more branches, which supports greater accessibility.
d. Directs officers to investigate 24/7 library requirements, including the suitability for trialing 24/7 access at Hume Libraries, and provide a briefing report to Council on the findings.