With the onset of the digital age there were many who thought we were entering an era that would see the decline if not the end of printed books and as a result the demise of the public library. This has not happened; far from withering away libraries are thriving and evolving with their communities and are actually becoming more popular.
There are almost 500 public libraries throughout Australia and 180 of these are located in Victoria. More than 27 million visits a year are made to Victorian libraries and result in 50 million loans being made to avid readers. These include more than 300,000 e-books downloaded annually.
Such is the demand that city councils throughout the state are investing millions of dollars in library/community centres with up-to-date technology and community spaces for gatherings and events. One such complex at a cost of $20 million will open in April at Docklands in Melbourne. And before that at the end of January a new generation and fully redeveloped public library will open in the regional city of Bendigo.
As any writer will tell you even more satisfying than seeing your book on display at your local book store is the knowledge that it is available to countless readers at a library near you.