Why do we need a new library and a new gallery? Aren't the current ones ok?
Both facilities are currently too small to provide an acceptable level of service to the community despite the excellence of the staff who operate them.
At 980m2, including back offices and storage, the current Harry Bailey Memorial Library is 40% of the 2500m2, which is recommended by the State Library of NSW for Coffs Harbour’s population. For example, there should be study rooms, meeting rooms, bigger collections and an area for young people.
Why put these facilities together?
The roles of the library and gallery are complementary both in their purpose and their operations. In particular, the changing role of modern libraries and galleries means that spaces could be shared, including: Workshop spaces, Event and meeting rooms, Study rooms, Computer areas, Staff areas, Catering facilities.
I don't currently use the library or gallery - what's in it for me?
The new Library and Gallery aim to be a dynamic cultural centre to rival the best and most innovative such centres from around regional Australia. An expanded gallery also presents an opportunity to encourage tourists to visit Coffs Harbour. Regional galleries are now very popular in other regional centres with new facilities opening recently in Albury and under construction in Lismore.
How will Council ensure that we get the right services in the new facilities?
We have consulted with the community and will continue to listen to the community as the project progresses. We have specialist advisors and are learning from the experience of other communities.
What have other communities done?
We are inspired by the achievements of other communities in regional Australia.
Why not put everything together with a performing arts centre?
The role of any future Performing Arts Centre in the cultural life of the city is being considered under a different process, which will complete in 2017. This process will also include a full financial and economic feasibility assessment.
Where will it be?
On 23 June 2016, Council resolved to endorse the site at 23-31 Gordon Street for investigation of the feasibility of the new Library and Regional Gallery. To locals, it is sometimes known as “the old Salvos”. The Library and Gallery Planning Advisory Group (LGPAG) and Council project team assessed eleven sites and this site was identified as the best.
How long will it take until the facility opens?
The experience of other communities is that it will take 4 to 5 years from the date of the Council’s final decision to proceed. This allows for the time to put in grant applications and pursue other sources of funding as well as construction.
Have we asked the community?
Over 200 members of the community including library users, artists, teachers, librarians, gallery volunteers, Friends, business operators and high school students have told us what they want. The clear need and support for a cultural and civic precinct and increased space for a new library and gallery has been identified by the community.