Barossa Libraries in step with community needs

David Brooks has just entered his ninth week as The Barossa Council’s newly appointed Library Services Manager and as someone who loves reading books out loud to children, he was happy to hear that a community survey revealed such programmes remain popular.

Barossa Libraries have introduced a range of new services and programmes in response to changing community behaviours and demand for flexible library services.

The changes come in response to a comprehensive community survey to identify how people use the library and what services they want.

Almost 200 people responded to the survey, representing a wide range of demographics and cohorts, including seniors, adults and children.

In response, the library has introduced a number of changes to align with community preferences, including:
– A new twice-weekly toddler aged programme called ‘Playtime’.
– Intergenerational events to strengthen connection between parents/carers and their children.
– Dedicated workshops focused on wellbeing and health.
– Alternative time slots for programmes including evenings and weekends.
– A balanced approach to self-service and customer support.

The survey data revealed children’s programmes remain popular across a range of special interest areas, especially during school holidays.

Adults indicated a preference for art and craft programmes, cooking and gardening, and health and wellbeing.

Almost half of respondents said they would like the library to open late on one weeknight, with a preferred closing time of 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

Mayor Bim Lange said there were many positive takeaways from the survey.

“The feedback shows our libraries are as relevant as ever, providing a place for education, fun and social inclusion,” he said.

“It’s great to see our libraries adapting to changing community needs so we can continue to provide a service that’s contemporary, flexible and meets people at different stages of their lives.”

More than 90 per cent of people who completed the survey were library members, and two thirds had visited a library branch in the month preceding the survey.

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