Guiding the future of public libraries in Australia’s fastest-growing LGA

Camden Council

Camden Libraries Strategic Plan

“Libraries offer people a ‘third place’, separate from home or work, and are anchors of community life, facilitating creative interactions between people.” – Ray Oldenberg, Urban Sociologist

Public libraries play a profoundly important cultural, economic and social role within our neighbourhoods, cities and communities. They play an essential role in building social capital and connecting communities, including through providing inclusive and free spaces and programs where people of all backgrounds can meet and have shared experiences.

Cred worked collaboratively with Camden Council – the fastest growing local government area in Australia – to develop the Camden Library Strategic Plan.

Children sitting at a table drawing ideas with workshop materials

Cred involved children in the visioning and ideation of this important community place (Source: Cred Consulting)

How we did it

The development of the Plan was informed by extensive research and consideration of trends in library service provision, including libraries as community hubs; libraries as third places; lifelong learning; new and emerging technologies; interactive and creative spaces; programs and events; flexible building spaces; beyond the physical walls – 24/7 access ‘anywhere, anytime’.

Our analysis included current and forecast demographic and provision analysis and benchmarking to determine gaps and needs in light of Camden’s changing community and place context.

Through an interactive community and stakeholder engagement program, Cred Consulting spoke with library staff and over 800 library users, local schoolchildren (both primary and high school), and the wider Camden community to learn their needs and aspirations.

Diagram of strategic context for Camden Library

The strategic context for our work with Camden Library (Source: Cred Consulting)

The outcome

Both the research and engagement have provided a strong evidence base for a strategy that is bespoke to Camden and its aspirations and reinforces the importance and value of libraries as essential public spaces. View the draft Camden Libraries Strategic Report prepared by Cred here.