What’s the future of libraries in the digital age?

Oct 30, 2019

The relevance of libraries in the 21st century

After visiting Whitlam Library in Cabramatta, NSW recently, I learnt there’s a strong future for libraries in the digital age.

They’re not just… about housing books anymore.

They’re not just… a quiet space to work and study.

And they’re not just… for retirees and preschoolers.

In fact, libraries are starting to undergo transformations. While there’s still a place for bookshelves – there’s also a place for 3D printers, film and recording studios, robotics, and co-working.

Yes, you read right. Mind. Blown.

Introducing Whitlam Library, Cabramatta

I admit when I was asked to present a blogging workshop at a library in Cabramatta, I expected to find myself in a typically run-down room in a typically run-down library.

But the reality was very different. (Sorry guys – but it was a pleasant surprise!)

Instead – I was led to The Workary – a free dedicated premises on Level One which is open for start-ups, co-workers, and entrepreneurs.

It includes:

  • A community workspace featuring ‘drop-in’ desk space and lounge area

  • Collaborative workspaces

  • A ‘pop-up’ demonstration space

  • Concierge service for start-ups

  • Coffee and tea provided

  • Bookable meeting rooms (fees and charges apply)

Plus, there’s Studio2166 – a high-end film and recording studio built for digital content creation. The facility can be used to film promotional videos, create green screen special effects, or record interviews and podcasts. Inside you’ll find screens, a microphone, speakers, AV projector, and whiteboards.

Wow. Just wow.

And if you don’t know how to use the studio equipment, don’t worry. There are plenty of workshops and courses you can attend. Oh, if only the library was closer to home! Then I’d be dropping in all the time.

And on top of it all – downstairs you’ll find Lab.LX – an experimental media space for inventors, entrepreneurs, and the curious who want to play with and understand the technology or create digital content and products.

This is definitely no ordinary library.


Will every library transform in the future?

Yes, I believe so. There’s the recently opened Darling Square Library that’s also embracing the digital age. I’m sure more will be popping up too.

Staff at Whitlam Library tell me there’s been lots of interest in replicating their innovative spaces – including tours by other councils.

Do you know of any other futuristic libraries? If yes, please share in the comments below. 

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