Joint-use libraries

A pdf version of this policy can be found here

ALIA Constitution Objects addressed:

To promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy, environment and democracy.
To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.


The Australian library and information profession is committed to excellence in the provision of services to best meet client needs.


The Australian Library and Information Association supports the establishment of joint-use libraries if they equal or better the level of service which would be given in separate facilities, or where such a service provides access to some who would otherwise not have a library.
Joint-use libraries may be established in a variety of locations and with a variety of partners but are most frequently combinations of a school and public library in rural areas. Other combinations involve institutes of technical and further education, and universities.
Experience in Australia and overseas has shown that joint-use libraries are complex to manage and operate, can be particularly demanding of staff, and can be vulnerable to operational difficulties or failure.  However, where these issues are well understood and managed, the complexity of a joint-use library can provide better outcomes for funders and the library users.
Successful joint-use library development requires that those involved:
ensure unequivocal commitment of all interested parties
undertake full consultation of all parties involved prior to any decisions on establishment
seek professional advice, in the initial stages of consideration of a joint-use library
establish an agreed governance structure that ensures that the interests of the funding parties and the library’s staff are adequately represented 
give careful consideration to the site, its position, visibility and size, including its accessibility for all potential users
confirm in the initial stages a plan to provide ongoing assessment of what constitutes adequate access times for all users
sign off on a formal agreement, by all parties, that cover all areas relating to the development, funding and continued maintenance of the library
establish mechanisms for the development and evaluation of annual plans, thereby ensuring transparency in both the funding and achievements of the library
obtain formal agreement on the process to be followed for a new building or extensions if, after a period of operation, the size of the library proves to be inadequate
employ an integrated staffing structure that begins with a single library manager who is responsible for appropriately qualified and experienced staff members to meet the diverse needs of all potential users
decide on appropriate skills required to meet the needs of the potential users and determine staff numbers accordingly
articulate clearly the shared and separate collections of each organisation, especially around licensed resources; and respect the contractual arrangements each organisation has with its content providers
provide a plan for the relevant, ongoing and suitable structure for staff learning and professional development
prepare a plan that enables regular, feedback and evaluation of the library and its services; preferably externally facilitated.
Adopted 1986. Amended 1996, 2002. Reviewed 2009. Amended 2019