The Impact of Libraries as Creative Spaces
Table of contents
Ready access to information through digital media has challenged the perceived societal roles of public libraries. Since the mid 1990s, libraries have reoriented themselves towards public participation beyond lending and reading. Libraries now offer an increasing range of community-focused creative activities.
Library spaces are transforming. In addition to housing archival and loan materials, desks and reading spaces, libraries are becoming even more flexible and activity-oriented. Given these transformations, understanding and demonstrating the new contributions public libraries make to their communities is critical.
In 2015, the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) commissioned researchers at the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to explore the impact of libraries as creative spaces.
The objectives of the Libraries as Creative Spaces project were to:
- Investigate the community impact of creative spaces in public libraries
- Provide clear evidence of this impact
- Articulate the opportunities to further embed creative spaces in public libraries or community spaces
The methods used included:
- A contextual review of thinking regarding libraries as creative spaces
- A literature review on the evaluation of creative activity in libraries and creative spaces more generally
- Interviews and observational field research at selected Queensland libraries
- The development and refinement of an evidence-based Creative Spaces Impact Framework
- The development of an associated rich media package (including videos, photos and digital stories) showcasing library-based creative activity across Queensland in 2015.
The outputs include:
- A User Guide (PDF 350.7 KB) to assist libraries to implement and evaluate creative activities and spaces (appendix A of the full report).
- An Activity Assessment Form template (PDF 55.8 KB) (excerpt from the full report)
- A Creative Spaces Impact Framework to help libraries articulate and measure the value libraries add to their communities (excerpt from the full report).
- A full research report, The Impact of Libraries as Creative Spaces (PDF 1.1 MB).
In support of the report a series of case studies were developed to showcase creative activity across Queensland and illustrate the use of the framework.
The Creative Spaces Impact Framework helps libraries to plan and evaluate creative activities.
The user guide for the Creative Spaces Impact Framework assists library staff to demonstrate the value of libraries as creative spaces.
For more information about this report please contact the Regional Partnerships team.