The purpose of Creative communities: the cultural benefits of Victoria’s public libraries is to shed light on the cultural benefits that public libraries deliver to Victorian communities. The study records the breadth and depth of cultural activities occurring in Victorian public libraries, and invites library users, staff and stakeholders to join a wide-ranging discussion about the cultural dimensions of libraries and the meaning and value of libraries to them as citizens.
Culture, as described in this report, refers to two interrelated concepts:
• the values and aspirations held by various communities, and the ways that they accommodate, debate and expand these values and aspirations to create a dynamic culture
• culture is also used in its familiar sense, encompassing arts and creative expression.
In both senses of the word ‘culture’, public libraries are playing a dynamic role within their communities. The study shows that Victoria’s public libraries are engaged in a range of cultural activities and processes. These activities are explicitly cultural in the sense of artistic endeavors of various kinds, and are implicitly cultural in the sense that they help animate the cultural life of communities across the state.
Victorian public libraries are significant ‘culture-making social entities’. They are, in other words, places where culture is being ‘celebrated, explored, passed on, threatened, tested, revisited, examined, developed, expanded, diminished, reinterpreted, reinvented, transformed and adapted’.