Libraries in the digital age [slides]

ALIA Library

Munro, Vicki

ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference, 13-17 February 2017 Sydney: Data Information Knowledge
This conference presentation (PowerPoint slides) supports the paper which discusses the opportunities and challenges experienced in developing a contemporary library service in a time of accelerating change.
Abstract: During 2016 Woollahra Libraries moved our much loved central Library, beautifully situated in a historic 468sqm house, as well as our Local History centre, housed in a separate building, into a new 2,234 sqm purpose built Library, in the centre of the Double Bay Shopping centre.  The challenge was how to maximise the use of technology into the new Library design to meet high community expectations; improve staff efficiency and effectiveness over three floors whilst still providing excellent customer service; and to ensure the new space allowed flexibility to meet an ever changing library and technological environment.

  • Introduction of a new Library Self Service model
  • Reviewed the hard copy collection size, setting performance standards for each collection and increasing the content of the digital collection
  • Identified available technology to achieve improvements in efficiency for both staff and customers including working with suppliers to develop technological enhancements, where suitable out of the box solutions were not available
  • Reviewed the Local History collection and implemented an ongoing digitisation project for the majority of the collection
  • Identification of community expectation for a state of the art library, what this means and how to implement in both design, application and technology
  • Developed new digital strategies for community engagement, including an online engagement platform, e-newsletter targeting based on reader preferences, social media and improved online experience.
  • Implemented strategies to future proof the Library against further technological and Library focus changes


  • Change management of both staff and customers
  • Staff skill level in understanding and applying new technology
  • The long lead time from library planning to completion of project has meant that some of the “new“ technology originally planned is now outdated. This has required us to remain flexible throughout the process and has had implications for design
  • Being the first to implement new technologies and technological advancements has been a time consuming and sometimes difficult process with suppliers.
  • The new Double Bay Library opens on May 28 2016, by the time the conference is held in February 2017 there will be an opportunity  to see how successful the planning and design for the new “state of the art” Double Bay Library has been.

Where to now?  What are the digital / technological trends for next 2-5 years and our next challenge is how to ensure that Woollahra Libraries remains at the cutting edge.

Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
Woollahra Libraries