Sebastopol Library will open until 10pm every Thursday night for the next two years, each time featuring a special free program or activity and light refreshments.
The Sebastopol Library is extending its opening hours into the night as part of a Victorian Government initiative to offer recreational activities as alternatives to gambling.
Funded as a pilot by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in 2017, the Libraries After Dark project is focused on reaching at-risk communities and those most vulnerable to social isolation, an established risk factor for gambling harm.
The project operates in Moreland, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea municipalities. Through new funding, the project will expand to 10 Victorian locations, including Sebastopol.
The Sebastopol Library’s Libraries After Dark will provide a safe and welcoming community loungeroom environment, encouraging the community’s thinking to shift from a gambling lounge to a community lounge.
In addition to its normal services, the library will foster creativity and empowerment through free activities such as open mic nights, poetry, screen printing, storytelling, life skills workshops, movie nights, and woodwork and cooking demonstrations.
Libraries provide welcoming and flexible spaces to assist the community to connect, engage and discover learning and digital skills, where residents can also tap into free resources and services.
The Libraries After Dark project aligns with the City of Ballarat’s Draft Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy and Action Framework.