Ipswich Central Library has taken a page out of the retail book with its latest initiative setting the shelves alight with activity.

The sleek and stylish Market Place collection features a face-out presentation that replaces the traditional spine-out display found in most libraries.

The collection includes the top 10 books from retail stores, trending titles, staff selections, kids’ classics and popular fiction genres like paranormal romance, thrillers and sci-fi.

The best and brightest in gardening, cooking, health, money, memoirs, war, history and design are also featured.

Library Business Services Manager Matt Pascoe said customers had welcomed the changes, with stats showing a considerable boost in borrowings.

“Your average book at Ipswich Central Library is borrowed about 4.5 times per year,” he said.

“What we’re seeing so far in Market Place is a turnover rate of almost 14.2 times per year – nearly triple the average.

“We have 2,000 books in the Market Place collection and at any given time we have about 350 books on the shelves so that gives you an idea of how customers are embracing the concept.

“Feedback has been incredibly positive and people really do feel like they’ve stepped into a retail bookshop.

“These are books that we already had in the library collection, it’s simply a different way of showcasing what we have on offer.”

Community expectations have changed and our libraries are constantly being redefined and reimaged in both their physical and digital spaces.

The entire library concept is evolving, right down to the face-out resource presentation model that is similar to that used in retail stores, with the customer experience a major priority.

The library also offers a range of self-education and assisted learning programs like yourtutor and lynda.com.

Another focus is STEAM, and laying the foundations for literacy, coding and lifelong learning.

Cr David Pahlke

Library and Youth and Seniors Committee

The Market Place move followed the launch of a new purpose-built tech zone at Ipswich Central Library earlier this year.

Designed with a focus on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and maths – the area includes a virtual reality room, augmented reality sandbox, collaborative jigsaw and children’s gadget bar.

For more information on the STEAM Power Makerspace go here.

Ipswich Central Library has changed. So has news.