What's new in the 2020 online version

Comparison 2012 publication to online version

In August 2020 an online version of People Places was launched. This is an update of People Places: a guide for public library buildings in NSW, 2012 (third edition). Changes from the 2012 publication included consolidating information, reducing repetition, and updating language and descriptions in line with current use and library practice. The changes below are as at 18 August 2020.

The table below outlines sections from 2012 publication with the corresponding section in the online version.

2012 edition Level of changes Online version
Section 1: Needs minor Planning
Planning tools
Section 2: Trends major Influence
Service areas
Features and considerations
Section 3: Project establishment minor Planning
Section 4: Planning minor Planning
Planning tools
Features and considerations
Section 5: Key design issues minor Features and considerations
Service areas
Section 6: Post occupancy minor Planning - Post construction and post occupancy
Planning tools - Evaluating your public library building

The main change was to the Trends section. The 2012 publication had 16 trends, many of these are now considered business as usual for libraries. These were added to the Service areas and Features and considerations sections. Some trends were removed altogether, other trends were edited and combined to create the five Influences.

2012 publication Online version
Trend 1: Libraries as places of social capital
Influence: Library as community place
Influence: Regeneration and prosperity
Trend 2: Community living room Influence: Library as community place
Trend 3: Breakdown of hierarchy Removed
Trend 4: Urban and sociocultural regeneration Influence: Regeneration and prosperity
Trend 5: Whole of life value and design excellence Removed
Trend 6: Libraries and ESD Removed (information covered by Features and considerations: Sustainability)
Trend 7: Programs and partnerships

Influence: Programs and partnerships

Trend 8: Ageing of NSW community

Service areas: Older People

Trend 9: Youth culture Service areas: Youth
Trend 10: New information technologies Removed
Trend 11: Collaborative learning environments Removed
Trend 12: Our Multicultural society Service area: Multicultural
Trend 13: Our Indigenous community Service area: Indigenous
Trend 14: Competition and marketing Influence: Competition and marketing
Trend 15: Cultural development Removed
Trend 16: Demographics Influence: Library as community place


The tools were the first step in the update of People Places with the Library building calculator published on the website in February 2019 and the other tools in the following months. The most significant changes were made to the Library building calculator.

Library building calculator

Changes to Library building calculator included the addition of the renovation calculator which works in a similar manner to the service calculator while allowing you to begin with a library building area and allocate spaces until the total area is used.

An anomaly in the service calculator was fixed. The formula in the previous version had a stepped aspect to it which caused it to recommend that a building for a population of 20,000 people would be bigger than a building for a population of 20,001. This happened at a few stages of population growth. This has been smoothed into a curve, with the formula changing accordingly, so that the recommended floor area gradually increases as the population increases.

The percentage aspect of the service calculator has been removed. The previous version provided floor areas for each space within the library building as a percentage of the total floor area rather than in square metres. This caused confusion and the changes make it easier to plan and allocate library spaces.

Library building briefs

The Library building briefs have been updated to use more contemporary terminology and for consistency across the small and large building briefs.

Library evaluation

The post occupancy evaluation tool has been broadened to become an evaluation tool that can be used at any stage in the building lifecycle. It has also been upgraded to automatically total scores in each section.