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New strategy aims to support libraries in Lower Austria

New strategy aims to support libraries in Lower Austria

Expanding their digital resources but also becoming a meeting place in the communities

A new strategy to support libraries in Lower Austria is presented by the State Councilor Ludwig Schleritzko (ÖVP). The strategy will include expanding digital resources and creating more meeting places in the communities.

Three main points lay the foundations of the new library strategy. While libraries already have 1.7 million digital data carriers, a further expansion of digital possibilities for entertainment or education is expected.

The second pillar is the further training of librarians, because especially when dealing with digital media, audiobooks and forms of communication on the Internet, safe handling is more crucial than ever.

Finally, more ads for the valuable library facilities, which is already a significant meeting place in the communities, will be needed.

In the previous year, there were 2.3 million euros loans for the libraries and this year's library use has increased: “In the days before the lockdowns, users even bought three times the amount of media and books. This showed that the library is an important point of contact, especially in difficult times,” added Schleritzko.

The library is more than a book distribution point

In addition to their function as media competence centres, the libraries have also developed into communication and information spaces that score points all year round with a wide range of offers for young and adult visitors.

Another service is the “Click and Collect” offer that has already been introduced in the St. Pölten library and that has proven so successful that it is to be continued over the period of the pandemic. Further experiences are to be combined into an overall concept by February 2022.

Ursula Liebmann is the managing director of the service point for Lower Austrian libraries. She and her employees coordinate the “upgrade” of the libraries. Liebmann shared her views on what libraries should be: “The library should be a quiet place of retreat but at the same time a meeting place for exchange. Books should be the focus, but digital opportunities should be tangible. And even if you want modern elements, you don't want to lose the traditional charm of the library. Both tradition and modernity need to be mastered and lived. That's exactly what we're working on now."

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