Tools: Evaluating your public library building

This section provides information and tools to assist in the evaluation of the library building's performance, services and facilities.

Stairs and stair seating with a large number of people standing in an open area.
Marrickville Library

The questions included in the evaluation template have been developed to reflect on public library buildings and can be used to:

  • measure the functionality and appropriateness of a new library design and its performance in relation to a design brief or to common standards
  • evaluate performance at the end or at key points of a building’s lifecycle, with the outcomes used to inform a design brief for a new or upgraded facility
  • evaluate how well a library is performing post completion or over time and to ensure the building is able to adapt to changing social and demographic change
  • conduct community engagement to support council and library strategic planning processes.

Given the continued and increasing importance of public libraries as valued community hubs, it is fitting that the community and other important stakeholders play an important role in shaping their design, delivery and ongoing improvement.

Analysis of current library trends indicates that public libraries increasingly provide a valued ‘third place’ beyond the home and workplace. To fulfil this role, and to respond to varying community needs and remain economically viable, libraries must be flexible. Flexibility extends to program and service delivery, location and building layout. As every public library should reflect the unique needs, demands and aspirations of its community, library staff must maintain a deep understanding of their community through regular data collection and community consultation. 

Using the template

The Evaluating your public library buildings template is provided to help you measure the impact and effectiveness of library buildings and services. The techniques and questions seek to encourage reflection and discussion of the issues that impact on library buildings design and broader library services.

The template assists you in a self-guided evaluation of the performance of your library building. You can complete all sections or just those that are relevant to your current needs. The simple scoring system can be used to help staff benchmark against best practice or previous evaluation processes. You can use the template repeatedly over time, for example comparing your new or refurbished building to your 'old' library building.

Evaluating public library buildings template

Evaluating Public Library Buildings - customer feedback

The next section helps you explore the perspectives of library users. It can also be used to understand the perspectives of people who do not use the library and to understand any barriers to participation.

Evaluating public library buildings - customer feedback

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