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2019: A great year for the GRLC

Wednesday 18 December 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we take the opportunity to look back on a great year for the Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC).

Since the beginning of 2019, we have welcomed 1.9 million people through the doors of our 17 library branches and two mobile libraries. Our members have loaned 2.5 million collection items and we have hosted over 158,000 attendees at our lifelong learning and cultural programs, proving that our library services are as relevant and as popular as ever.

We were thrilled to discover that, for the sixth year running, the GRLC was ranked by independent analysis as the number one performing public library service in the State. Our status as the top library in Victoria highlights the high quality of the library service we provide to our community and our commitment to operating with efficiency and innovation.

This year we have proudly participated in the state-wide Libraries Change Lives advocacy campaign. Library services from across Victoria, with support from Public Libraries Victoria and the State Library of Victoria, have worked collaboratively to shine a light on the importance of public libraries to the community and to advocate for increased State Government funding for our services. We look forward to rolling out the next phase of this campaign in 2020 and sharing further news with you in the new year.

Earlier this month we celebrated the first birthday of the Leopold Library and took stock of a great debut year for the youngest branch in our network. The anniversary was marked with a family fun day and more than 500 people came along to join in the celebrations.

The much-loved Chilwell Library branch benefited from a refurbishment earlier in the year, with the refreshed spaces and collection proving to be very well-received by the community.

Another beloved community branch – the Highton Library – will be re-opening on Monday 23 December following a temporary closure for a much-needed refurbishment. Staff at the branch are looking forward to welcoming the community back into the updated space. 

In November 2019, the sixth annual Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival – the GRLC’s flagship event – was held to great acclaim. Word for Word is Australia’s only literary festival with a dedicated focus on non-fiction writing and attracts some of the country’s finest authors and thinkers. Featuring 81 presenters across 41 sessions (including 8 sell-out events), the 2019 program included celebrated names such as Tyson Yunkaporta, Archie Roach, Jane Caro, David Astle, John Marsden, Tim Costello and Clare Bowditch.

The Word for Word Festival would not be the success it is without the support of a team of dedicated volunteers. At the GRLC we are incredibly lucky to have many people donate their time and skills volunteering in a range of areas, including the Festival, at the Geelong Heritage Centre and in our Home Library Service.

Speaking of the Home Library Service, this fantastic program provides valuable services to people who are unable to visit a branch or mobile library due to ill health or mobility issues. This program has grown significantly during the year, and now engages 99 volunteers to provide a personalised library service (and a valued social visit) to 302 house-bound clients. The feedback we receive from both volunteers and clients of the program is fabulous.

On behalf of the Board and staff at Geelong Regional Libraries, I wish all of our library members, friends and supporters  a safe and happy festive season, and hope that you have plenty of opportunity to read some good books this Summer. Thank you for your support during 2019 and we look forward to another great year in 2020.

Patti Manolis
Chief Executive Officer, GRLC

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