Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Better Buildings ... for the Future?

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Better Buildings ... for the Future?

Article excerpt

In February of this year I had the privilege of presenting a paper on new public and academic library buildings in Australia and New Zealand at a library buildings conference in the UK.

An initiative of Bournemouth City Libraries and the University of Bournemouth, the conference attracted a wide range of participants from public and academic libraries, with the former in the majority. Why such a connection? Bournemouth City Libraries has a fine new central library which is the recipient of the prime minister's award for excellence in public buildings. Will Australia and New Zealand ever have such an award? The University of Bournemouth has a recently extended and innovative building. Its librarian, David Ball, and Shelagh Levett from Bournemouth City Libraries realised they both had a good story to tell, at a time when many other public and academic libraries in the UK are being built or rebuilt.

My paper told the same story in Australia and New Zealand. Barely a day goes by without an announcement about a new library or major rebuild, causing me to observe in my paper that at the end of the 21st century, its first 25 years will be identified as a golden age in library building, not so long after some were predicting the demise of the library as physical space. As Christine Mackenzie, the Alia president, and Yarra Plenty (Vic) library manager has observed

   Old, tired, outdated buildings are the worst advertisement for our
   profession; well maintained, vibrant, relevant buildings the best. … 
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