Libraries have been around for thousands of years, from the Great Library of Alexandria constructed around the 3rd century BC to the Harvard Library in the US with some 10 million volumes, the vast collections of knowledge stored in libraries never ceases to astonish.

I wonder if library users in ancient times would have envisaged the evolution of libraries to the present day, keeping pace with changes in education as well as society and the way we consume information. Providing a social space for informal learning, they’re the original hot desk or shared office space.

However Public libraries are more than stacks of books. They are fantastic social and cultural activity hubs that play an important role in our communities. Free to attend, open and welcoming to all members of the community, the 275 municipal libraries across Victoria provide spaces for creativity to thrive.

Has it been decades since you were last in a library? These days we go to libraries to read, learn, borrow books, movies and access the internet. We take our children and grandchildren to baby rhyme time and story time sessions. We go to try new crafts, exhibit artworks, celebrate culture and research family and community history.

A gathering place, a quiet place, a comfortable and welcoming space – libraries are great places to go if you're feeling a bit lonely, or just want to read the paper or a magazine and I encourage you to pop into your local library and see what's on.

I am also proud to announce I have been chosen as an ambassador for the upcoming Victorian public libraries campaign: Libraries Change Lives. To help raise awareness of the incredible work these institutions do in their communities. Keep an eye out for more information about this campaign by following me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SeniorVicCommissioner.


Libraries after dark image

Libraries After Dark: from the gambling lounge to the community lounge

From board games and film screenings to decluttering workshops and knitting groups, four Melbourne libraries have been open until 10pm every Thursday night, providing community lounges that local residents are embracing with gusto.

Including libraries in the Preston, Mill Park, Glenroy, and Broadmeadows area – this new program is the brainchild of Judy Spokes from Moreland City Council and Councillor Sue Rennie from Darebin Council, offering safe, warm and welcoming venues as an alternative to the pokies.One gentleman told me he was going to take his friends to the casino that night, and when he heard about this, he came here instead, says Judy.

Funded by the Responsible Gambling Foundation to reduce gambling harm in areas of high pokies losses, there are hopes the program will be scaled up, so more libraries will can take part and more people can benefit.

For more information about your local library visit the Public Library Victoria Network website, email: execofficer@plvn.net.au or call your local Council.