Li­brary looks to the fu­ture

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Town Of Victoria Park - Michele Nu­gent

THE ar­rival of the dig­i­tal age has added, not sub­tracted, to the im­por­tance of li­braries in com­mu­ni­ties. ac­cord­ing to the Town of Vic­to­ria Park.

The pop­u­lar­ity of Vic­to­ria Park Li­brary con­tin­ues to climb, with more than 250,000 phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal items bor­rowed by mem­bers in the 2013-14 fi­nan­cial year.

Ac­cord­ing to the Town’s 2013/14 an­nual re­port, more than 103,441 peo­ple vis­ited the li­brary dur­ing the year, while more than 27,900 peo­ple logged on to its public ac­cess com­put­ers and more than 56,297 free Wi-Fi ses­sions were ac­ti­vated.

The use of li­brary items is not limited only to those who can phys­i­cally visit the Sus­sex Street fa­cil­ity. The Town pro­vides a home de­liv­ery ser­vice to about 20 res­i­dents and three aged care fa­cil­i­ties.

The Town’s com­mu­nity life direc­tor Tina Ack­er­man said up to 22 vol­un­teers ei­ther se­lected or de­liv­ered the li­brary items fort­nightly.

“It’s im­por­tant to pro­vide th­ese ser­vices to res­i­dents who can’t make it to the li­brary,” Ms Ack­er­man said.

There are also a va­ri­ety of on­line op­tions that can be down­loaded straight to a cus­tomer’s home com­puter or mo­bile de­vice. The li­brary reg­u­larly has up to 400 eBooks and 500 eMagazines down­loaded per month.

Other ser­vices in­clude eAu­dio books, IndieFlix, Trans­par­ent Lan­guage On­line (TLO) for learn­ing a new lan­guage, Tum­ble Books, an­i­mated, talk­ing pic­ture books for young chil­dren and a Story Box Li­brary con­nect­ing chil­dren with Aus­tralian lit­er­a­ture through film.

But Ms Ack­er­man said although dig­i­tal us­age had in­creased, cus­tomers still bor­rowed printed copies at sim­i­lar rates as be­fore.

“There seems to be no dif­fer­ences in de­mo­graphic about who is will­ing to adopt the new form of tech­nolo­gies ei­ther,” she said.

“Young adults are used to get­ting on­line con­tent for free so they are will­ing to use the li­brary re­sources to sat­isfy their on­line read­ing re­quire­ments but there are still many young adults bor­row­ing printed copies of books.

“Baby boomers like printed books but many are early adopters so they’re down­load­ing eBooks and other items like the eMagazines.”

The li­brary was WA’s first

■ to pur­chase a 3D printer in 2012-13 and since its in­tro­duc­tion has been in use for more than 1200 hours, print­ing more than 130 ob­jects for lo­cal artists, busi­nesses, en­trepreneurs, uni­ver­sity stu­dents and res­i­dents.

“There have been re­quests to build a va­ri­ety of items, in­clud­ing model train pieces, ar­chi­tec­tural stu­dents have built replica houses they have de­signed, and one cus­tomer also printed a new pool fil­ter pro­to­type,” she said

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Vic­to­ria Park Li­brary statis­tics 2013-14

Vic­to­ria Park li­brar­ian Sil­via Zanello demon­strates the li­brary’s 3D printer.

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