GREATER Bendigo's libraries will soon be too small for the rapidly growing municipality, the Goldfields Library Corporation has told councillors.
It would already like more library floor space, the corporation has told the City of Greater Bendigo as councillors will decide whether to sign off on a new long-term strategy for public book collections.
They will vote on the matter on Monday.
Greater Bendigo currently has 4,644 square metres of library floor space spread across five venues in Bendigo, Elmore and Heathcote.
But it should have an extra 304 metres to service the 124,000 people living in the municipality, Goldfields Libraries estimates.
The population is expected to surge by another 76,000 people by the year 2050.
Goldfields Libraries has not recommended where new branches should be built but has noted the city has a host of burgeoning growth suburbs.
They include Epsom and surrounds, Kangaroo Flat and a stretch of the Calder Highway out to Marong.
Another 15 per cent of people building in Greater Bendigo are expected to head to Elmore, Axedale and Heathcote.
Goldfields Libraries has recommended more planning for existing facilities at Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk.
It has also suggested redeveloping Heathcote's library and considering community hub options for Bendigo's.
That could include more health services at the Hargreaves Street facility, a business incubator or early years options.
The ideas come amid sweeping changes in the library sector.
"The 21st century library landscape has changed rapidly and there is growing recognition that rapid change in how and what libraries provide for the community is less an anomaly and more business as usual," Goldfields Libraries said.
It believes libraries will always be a place to learn and access information but the way people get it will keep changing.
Goldfields Libraries also wants to explore a host of ideas including co-locating with more health and community services.
Libraries are already becoming more social spaces with more group seating, food and drink, and Bendigo's are increasingly important for community gatherings and talks.
Some users polled by Goldfields Libraries say they want more defined quiet spaces to better separate them from social ones.
They are among Greater Bendigo's busiest public spaces, regularly chalking up 600,000 visits a year.
Those people have "overwhelmingly" told pollsters that libraries' best features are staff, locations and atmosphere, as well as the number of books on offer, Goldfields Libraries said.
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