The City of Casey and Cardinia Shire have made a joint decision to change the service model of their libraries, which will see the subsequent dissolution of the Connected Libraries (CCL) Corporation at the end of 2022.
While the transition to a different service model will mean changes behind the scenes, there is no intent from either council to reduce library services, and instead continue to improve and enhance the much-loved and valued library services.
This decision has been communicated to the CCL Board, staff and library members.
City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM said that the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire agreed to look at their library services earlier this year, to help the councils plan and make informed decisions for the future.
“The joint decision was made due to a number of contributing factors, most notably the significant growth and change in demographics of both communities, along with new legislation in the Local Government Act 2020, which requires the current regional library model to be changed in the coming decade, and the timely need for a review of the existing model, Ms Duff said.
“Over the past 25 years, CCL has grown to Victoria’s largest public library service with the population across the two municipalities increasing to almost half a million people and is planned to reach 750,000 by 2041.”
Recent changes in the Local Government Act 2020 also impact on libraries and means that CCL can not continue as a ‘Regional Library’ beyond June 2030.
Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Brett Owen said that the change in legislation had been a contributing factor towards the councils initiating discussions and looking to explore the most suitable options for the libraries going forward.
“Both Councils acknowledge that it’s important for our services to be fit for purpose, for both community needs and the councils’ requirements,” Cr Owen said.
“This has led both councils to realise the benefits that may be available in operating separate library services and as such we’ve now started to take the necessary steps to allow us to explore the opportunities for future service models independently.
“We’d like to reassure library members across both municipalities that it’s not the intention to reduce or impact library services and there will be a focus on retaining CCL staff in whatever new service model we both pursue.”
Ms Duff added that the transition to a new service model will be a staged process over the next 16 months, allowing for a planned transition with the objective of minimising impact on library services to the community.
“As with any change like this, our community and customers are always at the forefront of everything we do, and both councils will undertake community engagement on their future library vision throughout 2022.
“We would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic work of CCL staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff have demonstrated their dedication and resilience to the communities they serve and the organisation,” she said.
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