One year and one month ago, I posted on this blog about the vote at Rockdale City Council to go ahead with funding to build a new library. ALIA members in Sydney turned out to support the library at pretty short notice, and community members and ALIA Executive Director Sue McKerracher spoke passionately in favour of going ahead with the new building and the need for great public libraries. The Councillors agreed and the vote was carried 7 votes to 6.
So what's happening now?
In the time since, a Central Library Development Advisory Committee has been formed, made up of council staff and community members. Architects and interior designers have been engaged to begin planning the building. CK Design and Lefler Simes Architects have been appointed to prepare detailed drawings, and some of you may have attended the ALIA Sydney event in June last year 'Advocate, Promote, Brand' at Parramatta where Cecilia Kluger the principal of CK Design spoke. Construction work is projected to begin in January 2015, and the new library is expected to be opened in March 2016.
The artist's impression of the building looks wonderful.
This weekend a Community Open Day will be held in the Rockdale Town Hall Foyer from 10am to 1pm on Saturday to meet the architects and the design team and find out more about what they are planning. The website contains extensive documentation about the process and the planning of the new building. The local newspaper, The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader has followed the story and this has generated plenty of letters to the editor, mostly in favour of the $16m project.
Then from 2pm-4pm there will be celebrations within the library itself to launch the new Nepali collection, with dancing and food. The community languages section is a very important part of the library, and librarian Stephanie Lee won an award for Most Outstanding Multicultural Librarian in November 2013 at the Metropolitan Public Libraries Association conference.
In 2013 I can remember three efforts for library advocacy by ALIA in NSW, with Rockdale in February, Goonellabah in June, and the ADCA National Drugs Sector Information Service seeing some activities in Young in December. Advocating for libraries is one area of focus for ALIA, and one of those things that you sometimes don't think about until it's needed. But when it is needed it is needed sorely and can only be effective if the network is already in place, so it's comforting to know that ALIA stands ready and can marshall resources to help when called upon.
Maybe I'll see you at Rockdale on Saturday.