Murray Bridge Library under-used; would benefit from more staff, new books, council finds

Murray Bridge Library. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Murray Bridge Library. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Employing extra staff would boost public visits to Murray Bridge's award-winning but under-used library, a council report has suggested.

In the report, sustainable communities general manager Andrew Meddle recommended two extra staff be hired to bring the library closer to Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) benchmarks.

The library currently has one employee for every 3300 people in the district, a measure of its ability to respond to user needs.

The average for country South Australia was closer to one per 2400 people.

Meanwhile, Murray Bridge Library was visited less than half as often as other regional libraries.

The library attracted 2.8 visits per district resident in 2016-17; the average across the state was 7.4.

That figure was affected by a faulty security gate which failed to record visitor numbers for several weeks, and by the ability of borrowers to access services such as E-books without physically visiting; but the numbers were still "significantly down", Mr Meddle noted.

The report also recommended the council spend about $5000 per year renewing the library's stock of books, including incomplete fiction series.

The library has recently sought to build a specialist collection of non-fiction books as well, perhaps focusing on a subject of local interest, as the Barossa library does viticulture and the Port Lincoln library does aquaculture.

"An investment in our library is an investment in the community," Mr Meddle said.