A new 'Library Pod' will be installed at the redeveloped Karalee Shopping Centre.
A new 'Library Pod' will be installed at the redeveloped Karalee Shopping Centre. Contributed

Pioneering libraries a focus of council's budget

THE delivery of modern library facilities that go beyond a place to just check out a book or two will form a big part of Ipswich City Council's upcoming budget.

Three new council customer service centres will be included in Springfield Central, Rosewood and Ipswich Central libraries to replace closed divisional offices.

The new centres will allow residents and ratepayers to pay bills, register their dog, submit paperwork, lodge complaints and speak to council officers, who will have the same training as call centre staff.

Construction on the Rosewood facility is underway and it is expected to be completed by April next year.

Another major focus for council in 2019-20 will be launching the new 'Library Pod' at the redeveloped Karalee Shopping Centre in August.

The 600-book retail kiosk will be based on Ipswich Libraries' 'market place' collection model and the prototype design is being hailed by the council as the first of its kind anywhere.

Interim administrator Greg Chemllo will deliver the 2019-20 budget next Tuesday.

"As part of our strategic approach of extending the library's reach beyond customers having to visit the branches, we are aiming to insert library services where people already congregate," he said.

"This will create an original collection service offering targeted at residents who may not visit the library branch but would be attracted by a retail kiosk experience that provides self-service browse and borrow functionality."

Ipswich will welcome its 50,000th library member early in the new financial year.

Under the Ipswich Library and Information Service Coping with Growth 2008-2026 strategy, Ipswich Libraries want to extend the collection and presence of the library service into areas identified as 'remote' to the city's main library facilities.

Mr Chemllo said the deployment of 'high tech' kiosks to locations with the potential of high pedestrian traffic would help to achieve this.

"The development of the library offering as part of the CBD redevelopment and Nicholas St Precinct will be a significant deliverable in the 2019-20 budget," he said.

"This exciting project will provide a new cultural facility in the CBD that will create activation of the new civic space."

The council reported library membership across the city had increased 42 per cent since July 2018.