Libraries Building Communities: Australian Research with Implications for Canada?
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Libraries building communities: the vital contribution of Victoria's public libraries - a research report for the Library Board of Victoria and the Victoria Public Libraries Network (2005), is research which set out to show the social and cultural contexts of Australian public libraries in the State of Victoria. The State Library of Victoria (SLV), whose activities are governed by the Library Board of Victoria (LBV), is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Australia, having opened its doors in February 1856, when Melbourne, the State Capital, was just 20 years old. The idea to build a world-class public library was generated by a small group of prominent men. They were keen to foster the development of cultural institutions in their young city, as they believed such institutions would provide access to useful knowledge, which in turn would create a stable society and assist the development of the colony. This paper is written from the author's perspective as a past member of the LBV 2002- 2006; Deputy President of the LBV 2005-2006; and, Chair of Board's Advisory Committee on Public Libraries (ACLP) 2004-2006. It is set out in four parts, as follows: * Part 1 sets the context of the research - The State of Victoria and public libraries.<br> * Part 2 overviews the research, its methodology, its findings and a little of the public policy context in which the research was undertaken.<br> * Part 3 briefly overviews the context for public libraries in Canada.<br> * Part 4 asks the question - Would replication of this research help raise the profile<br> of Canadian public libraries and contribute to a heightened appreciation of the value of public libraries in building social cohesion and social capital?