07 April, 2008

Library governance

Library Board members and senior staff

I thought people might be interested in how the Library Service is governed and something of its history. Yarra Plenty Regional Library has been in existence in some form since the mid 60s when the then City of Heidelberg began providing library services to the former Shire of Eltham. Later the former Shire of Diamond Valley and the Shire of Whittlesea joined, and in 1989 it became incorporated under Section 196 of the Victorian Local Government Act.

The Library is governed by a Board, comprising 2 councillors from each of the 3 municipalities, Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea. Board meetings are held bi monthly and rotate between Banyule and Whittlesea. The Board develops the strategic direction for the Library Service and is responsible for ensuring that it is effective and efficient. Board members recommend the library budget to their respective councils for approval, and also appoint the CEO. I am responsible for the operational aspects of the service.

The advantages of a regional library are that the costs of specialist staff are amortised across 3 councils and members have access to a much larger and more comprehensive collection than they would as single municipal library services. We have an Outreach Section that comprises a Manager, a Reading Co ordinator, a Local History Librarian, a Seniors Librarian and a Marketing and Media Co ordinator. These staff work across all 3 municipalities.

The Regional Library manages the staff, the IT provision and finances, including payroll. We are like a small Council, and we are audited by the Victorian Auditor General and are required to submit our Strategic Plan and Budget to the Minister for Local Government each year. The member Councils provide the buildings and maintain them.

There are many advantages to belonging to a regional library and we look forward to continuing a high level of service to our communities.

Please feel free to comment on our services or anything else.

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