A few weeks ago, I worked on a Friday project and created a dashboard showing the number of libraries and students by suburb. I used data from the last Census to determine the number of students in each suburb of Melbourne, and then incorporated libraries data from Overpass Turbo to display the distribution of libraries throughout the city.

In the Alteryx workflow below, you can see I’ve imported the Census data showing number of students, cleaned it up a bit to get rid of anything I’m not interested in (in this case, the number of students by gender, since I’m just after the number of students overall and their education type). Then, you can see I’ve imported the libraries data from Overpass Turbo and created a spatial match.

Just below, you can view the libraries dashboard, showing the number of students on the map and the number of libraries by suburb. Werribee, selected here, has three libraries to service a student population of over 12,000 students, but, as we’ll see further below, not all suburbs are as fortunate.

Truganina, despite having a large student population, has no libraries. Libraries are a unique type of third space, which are communal spaces that are distinct from the home (first space) and work or school (second space), where people can connect over shared interests. Free public third spaces are becoming less common.

For students, libraries are invaluable third spaces that offer free resources and a safe environment to study and socialize. This is why I wanted to highlight the distribution of libraries in Melbourne.

The dashboard reveals that established suburbs such as Parkville and Melbourne’s CBD have a significant number of libraries to serve their student populations. However, emerging suburbs in Melbourne’s western growth corridor, such as Truganina, Derrimut, and Hopper’s Crossing, have no libraries despite having a high proportion of students. Meanwhile, neighboring suburb Point Cook has only one library but is home to one of the highest student populations in Melbourne (over 21,000 students).

This project was an interesting opportunity to reflect on the distribution of third spaces across Melbourne, and we can use the dashboard to see where need is greatest.


The Data School
Author: The Data School