Joint-use libraries

To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.

Principle

The Australian library and information profession is committed to excellence in the provision of services to best meet client needs.

Statement

The Australian Library and Information Association supports the establishment of joint-use libraries if they equal or better the level of service which would be given in separate facilities. Joint-use libraries may be established in a variety of locations and with a variety of partners, but are most frequently combinations of a school and public library in rural areas. Other combinations involve institutes of technical and further education, and universities. Experience in Australia and overseas has shown that joint-use libraries are complex to manage and operate, are particularly demanding of staff, and are vulnerable to operational difficulties or failure. Successful joint-use library development requires:

  • The unequivocal commitment of all interested parties;
  • Full consultation involving all the parties concerned prior to any decision on establishment;
  • Professional advice at an early stage of consideration of a joint-use library - the Australian Library and Information Association can supply names of appropriate consultants;
  • Careful consideration of the site of the institution, and of the position and visibility of the library so that convenient access for all potential users is guaranteed;
  • Access by all users during the institution's operating hours, with adequate provision for use outside those hours and during vacations;
  • Signing of a formal agreement by each of the parties covering all areas relating to the development, funding and continued maintenance of the library;
  • The size of the library and its staffing to meet the needs of the whole community served;
  • Formal agreement on the process to be followed for a new building or extensions if, after a period of operation, the size of the library proves to be inadequate;
  • A Board of Management, representative of all parties and advisory to the library manager;
  • An integrated staffing structure with a single library manager. Where a joint-use library is to serve as the library for an educational institution and the public, the appointment of staff with education and public library expertise is desirable;

A regular, preferably externally facilitated, evaluation of the library.