The Sebastopol Library will extend its opening hours into the night as part of a State 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.
It currently operates in Moreland, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea municipalities. The new funding will allow the project to expand to 10 Victorian locations, including Sebastopol.
Every Thursday night for 12 months, the Sebastopol Library will be open until 10pm to provide a safe and welcoming community lounge room environment.
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.
“Warm in winter and cool in summer, the library will offer a range of engaging and inclusive activities,” City of Ballarat Acting Director Community Development Pete Appleton said.
“The Libraries After Dark project significantly aligns with the City of Ballarat’s Draft Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy and Action Framework.”
“This is a whole-of-Council approach to preventing and minimising gambling harm.”