The future of libraries across the region will be guided by the Libraries Facilities Strategy recently approved by Toowoomba Regional Council.
The strategy identified excellent library collections and customer service as the libraries' main assets. However, deficiencies in current library services, an inability to meet future demand and sub-standard programs, services and technology were identified as shortfalls in the current service. About 480 people responded to a community survey as part of the Strategy's extensive community consultation.
A 'hub and spoke' model is fundamental to the strategy. The hub - a central resource management facility - supplies library resource materials to all thirteen libraries across the region (the spokes).
The strategy aims to meet projected population growth, with contemporary library services in all libraries. Spanning a 20-year timeframe with five-yearly reviews, the strategy provides the footprint for the future of library services in Toowoomba region.
Under the hub and spoke model accepted by Council, the City Library becomes a branch library and the library coordination centre (hub) is established to serve the following purpose:
- to acquire, process and supply all libraries with resources
- to provide storage and collection management and
- as a centre for the development of specialist services and programs to be implemented across all libraries.
Projected population growth is primarily in the outer suburban areas surrounding Toowoomba, from Highfields in the north, Glenvale in the west, to Westbrook and Hodgson Vale in the south. Growth is expected to continue in all district areas including Crows Nest, Yarraman, Oakey, Pittsworth and Millmerran. In the future, these growth areas will be serviced by suburban libraries. New libraries are proposed for Highfields, a western outer suburban area and a southern outer suburban area. Timeframes are provided in the following table. An expansion of the mobile library service is recommended to meet some of the growth in demand until these suburban libraries come on line.
Current facilities upgrade
The Library Facilities Strategy recommends that all Council owned library facilities are progressively upgraded over 20 years to provide contemporary community centres in townships and villages across the region.
The Library Facilities Strategy 2012-31 was accepted by Council in November 2012 and commences with the development of the new City Library and establishment of the library coordination centre.
Table of recommendations
Proposed dates and action
- 2012 - 2014 New regional resource management centre (approx. 1,000sqm) includes regional staff, archival and bulk collection storage, courier and mobile library base.
- 2012 -2014 New City Library (approx. 2,600sqm over 1-2 floors) includes Local History Library and learning centre, located as part of the Civic Precinct. Completed March 2016
- 2014 - 2015 50% of regional collection relocated to the new off-site library coordination centre freeing up more floor space at existing libraries particularly Highfields and Oakey.
- 2015 – 2016 New northern district library (approx. 1,000sqm) probably located at Highfields.
- 2019 - 2021 New western district library (approx. 1,800 sqm)
- 2016 - 2024 4 community lounges/ digital hubs (approx. 300sqm each) staged leases over an 8 year period. Typically located in the growing southern suburbs.
- 2025 - 2026 JC French Library at Crows Nest expanded and refurbished.
- 2012 - 2031 Progressive upgrades and maintenance to existing