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Service based library calculator

The service based calculator allows you to tailor your library planning for your community. It will estimate the size of your library based on catchment population, collection size and the type of services and core functions that the proposed library building will include.

How to use this calculator

Download copy of instructions

Follow these steps for the service based calculator, to help tailor your library size for community needs and services to be offered.

  • Enter the ten year projected population forecast for the local catchment of the proposed library
  • Enter the total collection size and the percentage of  collection in different formats. Note the percentages must add up to 100%

Base area

  • Once you have filled in the top section you can change any figure in the blue shaded area
  • Collection size the number of items per category has been calculated based on the total collection and percentages you have added in the top section. The percentage of items out on loan defaults to 30% for each format, adjust this to reflect your loans. This will adjust the area required to house your library collection based on the amount that is on loan. An estimate or average is fine.
  • Computers and personal devices: the minimum recommended number of computers for a population up to 20,000 is 5. For populations above 20,000 the number of computers is calculated at 1 per 3,000 of population. You can add additional computers if required.
  • If you are planning areas for BYOD you can add the number required as lounge or desk spaces.
  • Add the number of self-check units you are planning for your library.

Reading, seating & study areas

  • The total recommended number of seats is calculated based on your catchment population. You can change the calculated figure to reflect the number of seats you want to provide. This does not include the computer and BYOD spaces calculated in the Base area section.
  • In the blue section allocate the percentage of seating that will be desk space, lounges and group study. This must total 100%. The calculator will provide you with a recommended floor area for each seating type. You can change the allocation of space in the desired floor area section.

Other functional & service areas

  • Areas in this section are optional but many would be considered key services to include in a contemporary library building. You will not need to allocate space to each of the service areas. Choose the services that you will be offering in your library building.
  • The recommended floor area is based on your population. Use this as a starting point to allocate space according to your community needs and planned services.
  • You will notice that some areas provide a recommended floor area of 0 square metres. This is because they are not services that are offered at the majority of public libraries. Add a figure in the Desired Floor Area if this is a service you plan to provide.

Meeting spaces

  • The State Library recommends that you include meeting spaces in your library. This section allows you to allocate space depending on the types of meeting spaces and training rooms and the number of people you need to accommodate in each room.  Different square metres per person will be added for the different types of meeting rooms. 
  • In the blue section enter the number of rooms and number of people per room.  The recommended floor area will be calculated below. You can modify the Desired Floor Area if needed.

Once you have filled out all appropriate services the total recommended gross floor area will be calculated at the bottom of the spreadsheet.