Service areas

Design public library spaces around community demographics and functionalities.

Libraries are living, changing places for the community.


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


The children’s area in a library caters for the needs and interests of children and their caregivers.


Many libraries are responding to specific needs of youth culture by providing separate areas that allow young people to undertake a range of activities in a space designed especially for multi-tasking.


Public libraries play a role in the promotion and retention of Indigenous culture, with many housing specialist collections relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Prominent areas for browsing and reading multicultural resources are needed, as well as meeting room and lounge areas for social contact with people of similar backgrounds and interests.

Older people

Older residents are already major users of libraries and this trend is likely to grow as the number of older residents with significant leisure time increases.


The way people use libraries is changing, not only influencing the content of collections but the way collections are presented.

Local studies

As well as collecting and archiving local history, knowledge and culture, public libraries are instrumental in assisting the community to create content.

Staff and non-public areas

Staff  proximity to public areas as well as to service areas, entry and loading should be a critical element in the initial space planning of a library.