Project: Strategic Review
Project Description: A comprehensive review of the library’s service delivery model, including branch infrastructure
Project Outcomes: A report and recommendations regarding the current and future service delivery models for the library service, including:
- Comparative review against NSW Public Library Standards
- Proposed service delivery model and options
- New facility concept plan
- Facility planning (current branch infrastructure)
- Planning considerations and options e.g. shared services
- Library marketing
Project: Library Building for the Future
Project Description: RHCS undertook a comprehensive review and audit of the current Bathurst City Library. The audit utilised the RHCS library building audit tool based on the standards and principles of People places: A guide for public library buildings in NSW.
- Full building condition report, with reference to current library and building standards
- A library futures report containing recommendations for the redevelopment and refurbishment of the current building
- A site plan with layout options and recommendations
RHCS were appointed in 2014 to conduct the fieldwork and research for the compilation of the Mobile & Outreach Service: NSW Public Libraries report. Methodology included literature review, surveys, site visits, reporting and drafting of guidelines.
The report provides the history and context for the delivery of mobile and outreach library services within NSW and guidelines for the delivery of these services. It is hoped that it will become a key tool for the planning, delivery and evaluation of mobile and outreach services.
There are two versions of the report. The printed copy includes information from the International Organization for Standardization ISO:16439:2014 (E). The State Library obtained a licence to print one copy for each of the 101 NSW public library services. Under the licence they cannot provide additional copies.
The State Library of NSW has published an online version of the report without the information from ISO:16439 to make this publication more broadly available.
Download a copy: Mobile & Outreach Services Report
RHCS and Aurora Information Technology are working in partnership to reduce costs for public library customers by facilitating a move to cloud technology, supplying value added services and in negating the need for expensive add on options.
Based on its own research and practical experience with public libraries throughout Australia, RHCS identified the following challenges and opportunities for public libraries:
- Limited or shrinking budgets, trying to do more with less
- Higher scrutiny regarding the future role and place of the public library i.e. by Councils
- Exceptional growth (and associated resource pressure) in demand for library programs, especially support programs e.g. using technology (digital literacy)
- Council amalgamations, and especially the potential for amalgamations in N.S.W.
- Growing meaningful partnerships e.g. within the public library network
- Technology issues e.g. the challenges public libraries have operating within an often-restrictive Council IT environment – this can include a significant lag time in providing public access to updated software, the latest browser, blocking of recreational websites etc.
- The importance of libraries maintaining their independence, while still being able to work together cooperatively
- The ongoing cost of management and operation of a Library Management System (LMS), and its impact on the budget bottom line
AIT offers public libraries a world class and cost effective means of moving their LMS to the cloud. Together, AIT and RHCS have the experience and value added services to simplify and improve this move while saving the library money. Both AIT and RHCS are Australian owned, N.S.W. based, library supplier organisations with many years’ experience.
In continuing to win recent N.S.W. public library LMS business in open tender against foreign owned vendors, AIT has proven that it offers local public libraries an innovative way to reduce their ongoing LMS costs, to operate an independent library configuration while still being able to link easily to other system users either in a proven consortium model or separately. The Aurora LMS comes complete – no expensive add-on’s and no restrictions on the number of public customers accessing the system.
If you would like to find out more please contact RHCS or telephone 0414 190 133
Geelong Library & Heritage Centre Project
Project Description: Research, staff workshop and initial design brief input for ARM Architecture for the approx. $40m Geelong Library and Heritage Centre project.
Project Outcomes: Preliminary input report that provided advice on vision and image, relevant standards and guidelines for buildings, shelving etc., and service delivery trends (local, national and international) for library and heritage services. Practical advice on physical issues such as access and address. A comprehensive design brief spreadsheet for each service element was also developed.
ARM Architecture Urban Design Masterplanning
Level 11/ 522 Flinders Lane
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Project Description: A comprehensive review of the Shire’s Library service, including its staffing and structure, and the preparation of a strategic action plan to guide the library in the future delivery of services and programs to the community. The review included reference to current standards and guidelines e.g. Beyond a Quality Service: Strengthening the social fabric. Standards and Guidelines for Australian Public Libraries 2012, an evidence-based guide to the development of library services in Australia.
Project Outcomes: A comprehensive report and strategic action plan that contains:
- A set of recommended actions and strategies for the ongoing development of the library service
- A recommended organisational structure
- Alignment with Council’s strategic direction
“an excellent report and certainly value for money!” [David Koren, Manager Community Planning]
Libraries for Ryde
Project Description: Libraries for Ryde – a major strategic research and planning project. This 12-month project included:
- A background and context review – covering all aspects of the library service and its delivery model, including an operational review, demographic review, policy, strategic context and the guiding principles of staff, emerging trends (local, national and international), resourcing etc. and the expected impact on the library service
- Consideration and evaluation of strategic possibilities for the City of Ryde Library Service, including, new service delivery model options, facilities review, collections review, services and programs review, information and communication technology review, resourcing – staffing, partnerships and finances, and stakeholder engagement
- Future Scenarios, including reference to the current political, economic, social and technological environment; development of a library master plan, general building planning and design criteria, a new library service delivery model – principles and criteria, and some scenario planning
- Implementation Plan (Libraries for Ryde Strategic Direction) – a comprehensive plan to guide the future development of the library service for the City of Ryde Council.
This project involved high levels of involvement from a number of library staff, including research, evaluation and feedback; input and feedback from a Council and community based project reference group, Councillors, Council officers and numerous other stakeholders.
Project Outcome: A comprehensive review of current library services and service delivery model, taking into account both current and emerging trends, locally identified needs and resourcing, and an assessment of potential future scenarios.
Development and publication of a strategic planning document, service delivery model framework and an implementation plan to guide the library service over the next decade.
A copy of the Libraries for Ryde review and strategic plan can be downloaded here: Libraries for Ryde 2014 – 2024
Libraries for Ryde “It has been quite an undertaking, but with your very able assistance and patience, we have successfully engaged and informed staff whilst coming up with a plan that will provide really good scope for the future development of the library service.” [J.Webb, Manager Library Services]
Library Review and Strategic Plan
Cessnock Branch Library
Project Description: The development of a comprehensive and Council aligned strategic plan included, research into current library industry trends and issues; a comprehensive library user survey, a library non-user telephone survey (conducted by Jetty Research Pty Ltd) face-to-face consultations with the library staff (included an online staff survey),and other key Council and community stakeholders. The strategic review also referenced current NSW and national library standards and guidelines.
Project Outcomes – A comprehensive strategic planning document and support resources that delivers:
- Clear direction for staff and the community on the library’s strategic priorities
- The strategies and actions required to achieve strategic goals
- The basis for resource planning and external funding applications; and
- An alignment with Council’s strategic direction
Regional Local Studies Strategy
RHCS conducted a review of local studies collection and access across the Macquarie Regional Library Service and of external agencies and individuals involved in the collection and preservation of local studies materials across the region. The consultation involved both survey and face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders from the library, member Councils, Councilors, and various special interest groups and individuals. The project developed a regional local studies strategy for both the library and other interested groups, organizations and individuals. All member Councils of the Macquarie Regional Library Service (Dubbo, Narromine, Warrumbungle and Wellington) have since adopted the strategy.
Regional Library Review and Strategic Plan
RHCS conducted a review of library services across the three Councils that make up the Clarence Regional Library Service (Clarence Valley; Bellingen and Nambucca). The review was to gather data for the development of a regional strategic plan to further develop and enhance library services to the region.
The results of the project included:
The development and regional Council adoption of a library service strategic plan, with recommended actions.