Book it to the library

PHOTO: Pngwing

INTERNATIONAL Book and Copyright Day provides a day to shine the spotlight on the value of and changing role of libraries to regional communities.
Central Highlands Regional Council General Manager Communities John McDougall said the day was a reminder that libraries catered to “one of societies most valued skills”.
“[Reading] allows us to communicate ideas and encourages imagination,” he said.
“It also educates people about the importance of copyright legislation and access to legitimate information.”
Mr McDougall said although the role of libraries, in an increasingly digital world was changing, they still provided an invaluable service to their communities.
“Our libraries have become accustomed to embracing new technologies and adapting to changing community needs,” he said.
“Although our libraries are in regional and rural areas, we have thankfully been able to keep pace with the digital world through good internet connectivity and investing in the right tools.
“In a way, being regional pushes us to be more innovative, and because of this we are now able to reach people we couldn’t before, such as those living on properties or without transport.”
Mr McDougall said adapting to the proliferation of digital media was crucial to the ongoing ability of libraries to serve their communities.
“Across the world and here in the Central Highlands, digital library collections have increased with apps and online catalogues for browsing, reserving and renewing items, searching resources, and managing your membership anywhere, anytime,” he said.
“Our branches offer digital literacy training to the public and online printing services, as well as access to the internet, eLearning programs and record databases.
“We’ve also developed a popular Click and Collect service.”
Mr McDougall said that the role of libraries was expanding beyond informational and entertainment purposes.
“Council has partnered with the James Bennett Sustainability project to offer book recycling collection across the region,” he said.
“Unwanted books can be dropped off at your local library and collection containers will be rolled out at all council waste facilities over coming months.
“The project reduces waste to landfill and provides the libraries with additional funds to put towards new resources, such as the new Book Club kits available at all nine branches.”
Mr McDougall said access to quality reading resources was not limited solely to educational and informational purposes.
“Access to quality books and learning resources is important for education, but it is also an outlet for entertainment, relaxation and improved mental wellbeing,” he said.
“Libraries have evolved so much over time, from a hub for books to a hub for the community, a neutral space for people to relax, learn, connect, discover, play and create.
“Our library programming covers all ages from babies to seniors and activities from dancing to robotics.
“Libraries are a safe place for all people to use.”