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Population based library calculator

The Population based library calculator helps determine a minimum recommended library area based on population.

This calculator should be used as a starting point to estimate the minimum recommended library building size for a specific population or catchment for a library branch. Use in conjunction with the Service based library calculator.

The minimum recommended size for a public library building is 190 square metres. It is important to note that a library of this size is only capable of servicing communities of fewer than 2,750 people. 

How to use this calculator

Download copy of instructions

  • Resident population: enter the ten year projected population forecast for the local catchment of the proposed library. If the projected population is smaller than the current population we would recommend using the current population.
  • Non-resident workforce: you might want to consider non-resident workforce in planning your library size. This is especially important for those libraries that have a large number of non-resident members and library users. Answer yes or no to the question 'do you want to consider the non-resident workforce catchment?' Then add a figure in the 'non-resident workforce' section. If you want to clear your answer to this question click delete on your keyboard.
  • Central library: some central libraries require a significant work area for collection processing, staff accommodation etc. If you select yes to the question 'is this a central library with significant workroom requirements?' the tool will allocate more space to the total floor area. If you want to clear your answer to this question click delete on your keyboard.
  • Number of libraries undertaking central library activities: for operational or space reasons your library service might share traditional central library activities across a number of your library branches. If the activities are only at one library (your central library) leave this as one. If activities are undertaken across a number of libraries include the total number in this box.
  • Whole LGA population: additional space for central library needs will be added to the total library area based on the LGA population if you choose to include it.
  • Whole LGA non-resident workforce: you might want to consider the non-resident workforce for the whole LGA in planning your library size. This may be important for councils that believe the non-resident workforce has an impact on library service requirements and space.