Surf Coast residents and visitors have embraced the new Torquay Library, with patronage and local membership increasing since a $300,000 upgrade was completed in October 2012.
The upgrade has almost doubled the available floor area, provided more seating for programs, shelf space for collections and provided eight additional public use computers with internet access, taking the total to 12.
Library users can now use self-checkout for borrowed items with newly installed RFID technology and return books after hours via a 24-hour book return chute on the outside of the building.
Geelong Regional Library Corporation statistics comparing Torquay Library use from October-December 2012 with the corresponding period in 2011 show a 30% increase in library membership, a 25% increase in bookings for internet access at the library, a 78% increase in people using the library’s wifi connection and a 44% increase in attendance at events like children’s Story Time sessions, computer classes and other programs.
At the official opening today, Surf Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Libby Coker, said the upgrade to the Torquay Library provided a modern, permanent facility for the Surf Coast.
“We now have a 21st century library in the Surf Coast and the local community is benefiting from this facility,” Cr Coker said.
“We are one of the fastest growing areas in regional Victoria and it is vital we invest in services like libraries, particularly as much of the population growth in our shire comes from young families.”
Geelong Regional Library Corporation Chair, Cr Andy Richards, praised the collaboration between Council, State Government and the library corporation that led to the redevelopment.
“Congratulations to Surf Coast Shire in particular for their commitment to improving library services on the Surf Coast, their understanding of the value and importance of public libraries in communities, and the contribution they make to cultural, educational, economic and community development. Thank you also to the State Government for its funding support,” Cr Richards said.
“We know libraries are a vital service in thriving, contemporary and increasingly lifestyle driven communities.
“The Library Board works hard to continuously improve services and deliver new projects to meet community needs and we know this refurbishment will see many more people enjoying the services and benefits the library offers.”
The library has been partly funded by a $200,000 grant through the Victorian Government’s Living Libraries program.
Torquay Library is open seven days a week, Monday-Wednesday from 10am-5:30pm, Thursday from 10am-8pm, Friday from 10am-5:30pm, Saturday from 10am-1pm and Sunday from 1:30pm-4pm.