We're refreshing our Libraries, Arts and Culture Strategy.
The strategy will set the direction for the next four years, guiding Council’s efforts to partner with and support our community to promote, support and grow arts, culture and libraries in Bayside.
From 4 April to 1 May 2022 we invited the community to provide feedback to help us develop the priorities and key themes for the draft strategy.
We wanted to understand what our community thinks of our current library programming and ensure its meeting the needs of the community though being accessible when the community needs it. We also wanted to hear the areas Council’s arts and culture activities could have greater impact and if there's anything we can do more of to support our arts and cultural sector.
Who we spoke to
The project was shared on Bayside's Have Your Say page, flyer handouts were distributed at libraries, the Gallery and Bayside City Council Corporate Centre and promotional signs were installed at prominent locations including playgrounds and in activity centres. The consultation was also shared in E-News letters including Bayside's The Week In Bayside and the Friendly Librarian and on social media channels. We also advertised the project via News Corp digital advertising channels.
Face-to-face activities were held at Bayside Farmers Market.
Consultation activities for this project involved:
- An online survey that asked questions to gather community ideas on what we should focus on to promote, support and grow arts, culture and libraries
- Utlising data collected via the Victorian public library survey to understand more about the people who currently use the the library and what they would like to see more of
- Workshops with the Arts Advisory Committee
- One-on-one conversations with key stakeholders
- Meeting and discussions with local community groups in Bayside including the Bayside Healthy Aging Reference Group, Reconciliation Advisory Committee, FReeZA and Bayside Disability Access and Inclusion Committee
Here's what we heard...
Library user demographic captured:
When asked what one improvement to the library could be, most users identified:
Users wanted more comfortable spaces, coffee machines or a café, outdoor reading areas and better working spaces with meeting rooms and quiet areas.
There was a call for larger collections across all libraries as well as the provision of multiple copies of popular books and access to university research collections.
Users wanted the library to be open later during the week to allow full time workers access. There was also a call to hold events in the evenings for adults.
There was a call for more events, displays and workshops that bring people together as well as connect library users to external resources and opportunities.
Many users felt that the libraries need to better communicate their events and services. This would increase uptake and attract more people to the library.
Overall library users reported very high levels of satisfaction with the library service
• 89% of users felt that the library welcomes people from all walks of life
• Over half of the users felt that the library was very important to them personally and to their community
• Users felt that libraries provided value to their community by providing access to knowledge and learning opportunities,
being a welcoming and safe space, creating events where people can connect socially and connecting community
members to other resources and services
Arts and Culture
Survey respondent demographic captured:
When asked how Council can better support engagement in arts and culture activities, most users identified:
Public and freely accessible arts and culture events activate spaces, provide direct and visible opportunities to engage both as a beholder and interactively.
Activities for all ages
It was felt that many activities were directed at children and that this prevented adults from becoming involved. There is an opportunity to target older demographics.
Many respondents felt that there was not enough focus on the performing arts. Music, theatre and dance were areas where Council could increase visibility and support.
Respondents flagged that Council needs to better advertise arts and culture activities beyond Bayside Gallery exhibitions through their social media and the libraries.
It was thought that participation in the arts needs to be encouraged so there is a culture in Bayside where anyone can learn new skills, be creative and connect.
What is the community vision for arts and culture in five years time?
A number of definitions of success were raised, both in terms of the social impact opportunities created by Council as well as for Bayside City Council itself.
Below are some of the key points:
Active community spaces
- This is about leveraging arts and culture to activate public spaces and enable community to connect with one another and community
- Drive awareness and engagement
- Build awareness of arts and culture activities and create opportunities for those that are disengaged to participate.
- Fostering connection between community members and groups to reduce social isolation and create a sense of belonging
New physical spaces
- Exploring new sites, spaces and places for artists and creatives to create and showcase their art and for the community to engage.
- Developing networks of artists and creatives as well as partnerships with community-based organisations to create positive social impacts.
Measurement and impact
- Focus on developing a set of impact measures to be able to track and subsequently advocate for arts and culture investment.
- Growing the team and building skills and capabilities to scale the work of Council’s arts and culture service
Arts and Culture
After collecting community feedback, we now have a better ideas of what you and your family want to see, hear and experience in Bayside. We are now incorporating the feedback into the draft strategy document and will be collaborating with Bayside's Arts Advisory Committee and Council Staff to ensure the document is in line with their aspirations.
In July we will present the draft strategy to Council and again will be collecting community feedback on the document.
We anticipate community consultation will take place in July - August 2022 before the final strategy is presented to Council in October 2022.
The final strategy will include action plans for Libraries and for Arts and Culture. The actions will include high level strategic activities that will be taken to Council to achieve the goals and objectives set out in Bayside's Libraries, Arts and Culture Strategy.
Progress against the action plans will be monitored, with annual reports made to Council and the community on their achievement as per legislative requirements.