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Public libraries

State Library Victoria is committed to building a strong relationship and working collaboratively with public libraries across the state in order to deliver better services to all Victorians.

This collaboration is defined in our Framework for collaborative action (pdf, 87.78 KB), which:

  • defines the basis of State Library Victoria's with the public library network
  • articulates the underpinning shared vision, goals and values
  • specifies roles and responsibilities
  • includes a three-year plan of collaborative projects
  • summarises past collaborative achievements.

Much of the State Library's work with public libraries is about building capacity in the sector. It focuses on industry research and innovation, strategy development, workforce and leadership development, and advocacy. The Library also works collaboratively to deliver community programs in public libraries, especially in regional areas.

Between July 2020 and June 2023, the Library is working with Victoria’s public libraries in three main areas.

Libraries for Health & Wellbeing program

The Libraries for Health and Wellbeing program is a new program to enhance public library contributions to community health and wellbeing, reaching the most vulnerable community members and working in partnership with other organisations. Initiatives include:

  • a strategic framework to articulate the role of public libraries and guide their work in support of community health and wellbeing outcomes
  • deep research to demonstrate the impact of public libraries on community health and wellbeing
  • targeted staff training
  • a statewide community health and wellbeing program.

Advocate program

The Advocate program builds on the work of the previous three years to grow awareness of the social and economic value of public libraries and increase government and community investment. Initiatives include:

  • a census and survey of Victorian public library users to deepen understanding of their demographic profile and reasons for using libraries
  • the Libraries Change Lives community campaign
  • targeted staff training in the skills of advocacy 
  • a rolling program of engagement with funding decision-makers to alter their perceptions of libraries from 'nice to have' to 'must have'.

Sector Capability Lifting program

The Sector Capability Lifting program aims to ensure that Victorian public library staff have the knowledge, skills and leadership capability required of 21st century libraries. Initiatives include:

Major publications

The State Library and Victoria's public libraries have published several major research and strategic reports and frameworks that have helped shape public library services.

Public Libraries Victoria

Public Libraries Victoria is the peak body for Victorian public library managers, and the State Library’s partner in its sector-wide work. Visit the Public Libraries Victoria website for a wealth of information about Victorian public libraries.