The University of Melbourne
20201130_Tordoff & Atkin_The 21st Century Learning Hub-Lessons from a Joint Use School and Community Library Project in Regional Australia.pdf (1.53 MB)

A 21st Century Learning Hub: A Case Study of a 'Joint Use' School and Community Learning Facility

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conference contribution
posted on 2020-11-30, 08:52 authored by David Tordoff, Julia Atkin
This case study demonstrates a successful merging of previously separate community, school, cultural, health, wellbeing, and tertiary facilities within a new hub in the regional centre of Young, New south Wales (NSW). It describes the collaboration between state and local government, architects, educators and community representatives. It details the conception of the facility from within the community, the multiple stakeholders and policies involved and the architectural response to a complex brief, a fortuitous multilayered historical site, and a diverse cultural context. Australia wide, Governments are searching for more effective and efficient use of public infrastructure. Shared use of schools, whereby they are encouraged to make their facilities available for community use, is relatively common in the State of NSW. It is only recently that ‘joint use’ projects which involve significant investments by multiple parties have been promoted in that State. Joint use projects have the potential to open myriad learning opportunities for a community. For example, there are few places of public infrastructure that represent the learning culture and pulse of a school, or community, like a library. For communities, the information they contain, the events hosted, and the spaces for hire are intrinsically tied to the culture of the local community. In secondary schools, libraries remain at the heart of learning. They are places that students inevitably gravitate to as a space for collaborative project work, social interaction, meetings, and events. In regional towns the roles of both are magnified. These library aspirations both complement and compete, while opening up opportunities for use of a wide variety of school learning facilities by the community and re-integrating school with the broader community.