Service areas

Libraries are living, changing places for the community. Design public library spaces around community demographics and functionalities.

For decades, libraries were almost exclusively a realm for people borrowing books. They are now places where people come to sit, read the newspaper, listen to music, play computer games, search the Internet and take part in a variety of programs and events. While traditional library services remain the mainstay of library activity, other activities and services are becoming increasingly popular. No activity is mutually exclusive, with visitors choosing to undertake a range of activities while in the library.

In this section


Children have different needs to other library users. The children’s area in a library caters for the needs and interests of children and their caregivers.


Successful youth areas reflect the values and attitudes of local young people. 

Indigenous peoples 

Public libraries need to be attractive, welcoming and relevant to all members of their community, with particular emphasis on ensuring these spaces are welcoming to Indigenous community members.  

Multicultural communities

Our multicultural society influences our libraries and their functions. Areas for browsing and reading multicultural resources are needed, as well as spaces for social contact with people of similar backgrounds and interests.

Older people

Older people are major users of public libraries and they require a range of services and collections.


Collection development, management, display and circulation remain significant business for public libraries.

Local studies

Local studies collections are unique to each public library and are highly valued by the community.

Staff and non-public areas

Staff areas must be included in the planning stage for a new or refurbished library building.