Friday, December 18, 2009

New Library Launched in Kingston ACT

I just got this email from Janice - one of our previous Library Managers here:

Hi Everyone

I’m bragging to you all about our latest “baby” – Kingston opened yesterday and everything went beautifully!! A 6 month timeframe – fantastic builders and suppliers working in sync - and this is the result! Make sure you pop in and enjoy the “NY Loft” feel – and bring your coffee!



Janice Biggin
Manager, Library Services
ACT Library & Information Service
Phone: 61 2 6207 5721
Mobile: 0419 424 439
Fax: 61 2 6207 6461
Address: Level 7, Macarthur House
12 Wattle Street, Lyneham. ACT 2602
PO Box 158 Canberra City. ACT. 2601
Visit our website: our blog:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Public Libraries Consultative Committee

The PLCC held its quarterly meeting on Monday 16 November 2009.

The main issues considered at the meeting were:

- Public Library Funding Strategy 2009/10 - the meeting recieved a report confirming that current model is being utilsed for the allocation of public library funding to NSW Councils for the 2009/10 financial year. The report also advised that the Premier has endorsed the new funding model recommended by Library Council in response to the Parry Review, noting that it is to be introduced only when new additional funding becomes available to ensure no council is worse off. The State Library has submitted a Maintenance of Effort bid for the 2010/11 Forward Estimates to address the issues of population growth and CPI on the Public Library Grants and Subsidies.

- Review of the Library Regulation 2005 - the current Library Regulation expires on 1 September 2010. The remaking of a regulation requires the preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and a period of public consultation in accordance with s5 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1989. The Premier’s Memorandum M2008-05 requires a public consultation period of 28 days. This will occur in the first half of 2010, during which all NSW local authorities will be consulted as part of the review process.

- Development of a NSW Public Library Sector Strategic Plan - the meeting considered a report from Public Libraries NSW - Metropolitan proposing the development of a 10 year strategic plan for the NSW public library sector.

- an update on the Public Library Network Research Program 2008/09 projects - Scenarios for the Future NSW Public Library Network; Cost Benefit Analysis of Models for Collection Management: acquisitions, cataloguing and processing in NSW public libraries; update of Living Learning Libraries: standards and guidelines for NSW public libraries.

- Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) and drug info @ your library Branch Report 2008-09 - the meeting was provided with a presentation outlining the achievements of these programs during 2008-09

- Service Delivery and Marketing Strategy - the meeting was provided with a progress report on the rollout of the Service Delivery and Marketing Strategy July - December 2009

- Library Council Report - the Chairperson provided an update on PLCC matters that had been considered by Library Council since the previous PLCC meeting

- information reports were received from Public Libraries NSW - Metropolitan; Public Libraries NSW - Country; and Anne Hall (Manager, Library & Museum Servicves, Fairfield City Council) detailing her attendance at the World Library & Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference & Assembly and the IFLA Satellite Meeting: Library Services to Multicultural Populations.

Please contact Cameron Morley (Manager, Funding & Advisory Services) on or 02 92731483 for further information on any aspects of the 16 November meeting.

The agenda and minutes from previous PLCC meetings are available on the State Library website:

Minutes from the November 2009 meeting will be accessible once they have been endorsed by Library Council and any required matters are actioned.


Robert Knight

Chairperson - Public Libraries Consultative Committee

PO Box 5186
Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

þp: 02 69269777
f: 02 69269779
m: 0408 285724

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chiefs predict service area cuts (from UK Libraries)

I worked in the CIPFA Library when I was in London in 1993 - I'll bet by the sound of this, there is no Corporate Library in that organisation now! Read below:

17 September 2009 | By James Illman

Adult social care, planning and library services are those most likely to be provided at lower levels in the future, council chiefs have predicted.

Nearly a third (27%) of upper-tier respondents to the LGC/Liberata Future of Local Government Survey predicted their council would only be able to supply library services at “absolute minimum service level” over the next five years.

Forty per cent of upper-tier respondents said that levels of adult social care would be “a little less than now” while 42% of district council chiefs expected planning services would be provided at below current levels.

Both the Local Government Association and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy were swift to draw a distinction between actual cuts and scenario planning.

LGA director of finance and improvement Stephen Jones said: “The survey shows that local authorities are engaging in some very responsible scenario planning, but there is a very big difference between scenario planning and actual decisions. A lot of these decisions will be political and taken by elected members.”

CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer echoed Mr Jones’ sentiments. “Closing or curtailing library services may look like an easy option for officers but elected members may take a different view,” he warned.

LGA improvement board chair and Leicestershire CC leader David Parsons (Con) called for councils officers to show “imagination” to avoid slashing frontline services.

“What we want is imagination at the top of local government,” said Cllr Parsons. “I do not know if cuts are necessary or not, but we want to see councils innovating rather than just cutting.”Cllr Parsons said that libraries were a good example of a service that could be used more innovatively.

“In Leicestershire we are looking at providing more services, including health and police, through our libraries. We have had one of the largest expansions of library services in the country.”

Meanwhile, an upper-tier/district council split was evident when respondents were asked who they thought would be delivering services in their area in five years’ time.

Three-quarters of district chiefs said they foresaw non-public-facing functions such as HR and IT services being carried out “with another local authority”, while 22% thought they would be outsourced.

However, more than double (50%) that proportion of upper-tier respondents thought these services would be outsourced, with 37% of this group predicting that such back-office functions would be shared with another council.

Mr Freer urged councils to move swiftly to get the most of shared options. “Shared services take time to put in place,” he warned.

For more information on CIPFA go to their website:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New role for Blue Mountains Library Manager (no, not going anywhere....just adding to my responsibilities!)

9 November 2009

***To PLM Members***

The Annual General Meeting of Public Libraries NSW - Metropolitan Association (PLM) was held in the Metcalfe Auditorium at the State Library of New South Wales on Friday 6 November 2009, 3pm to 5pm. During the AGM, the PLM President Cr Win Gaffney, Mayor of Lane Cove Council, delivered the President's Annual Report. This report is attached to this email, and is also found on the PLM website under Reports on the Submissions, Reports and Presentations web page.

Below are listed the PLM Office Bearers/Executive for 2010.
President: Cr Win Gaffney, Mayor, Lane Cove Council
Vice-President: Clr Anne Connon, Mayor, Mosman Council
Secretary: Jennifer Bice, Manager, Lane Cove Library
Treasurer: Susanna Waller, Manager, Rockdale City Library
Library Manager for the President: Jennifer Bice, Manager, Lane Cove Library
Library Manager for the Vice-President: Linda Horswell, Manager, Mosman Library
Regional Representative: Central/South East: Mark Norman, Manager, Kogarah Library
Regional Representative: North: Cheryl Etheridge, Manager, Hornsby Library
Regional Representative: West South West: Vicki Edmunds, Manager, Blue Mountains Library
PLM Representative to the PLCC: Lyn Barakat, Manager, Sutherland Shire Library.
PLM President and Vice-President Profiles:

Cr Win Gaffney:
Cr Gaffney was first elected to Lane Cove Council in 2004, was the Deputy Mayor in 2007/08 and was recently elected the Mayor. Cr Gaffney has represented Lane Cove Council on the Shorelink Library Network Committee during which time she has served as both Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

Cr Anne Connon:
Cr Connon has a background in the Finance and Investment industries, has experience as a Company Director, and is the newly elected Mayor of Mosman Council. Cr Connon has also represented Mosman Council on the Shorelink Library Network Committee.

With kind regards,

Robert McEntyre
Executive Director
Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan Association (PLM)
Mobile: 0407 208 364
Business: 02 9489 2310 (+61 2 9489 2310)
PLM Website:

Phone box has new life as library

The traditional phone box was bought from BT for £1

A traditional red phone box has been recycled into one of the country's smallest lending libraries - stocking 100 books.

Villagers from Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset can use the library around the clock, selecting books, DVDs and CDs.

Users simply stock it with a book they have read, swapping it for one they have not.

"It's really taken off. The books are constantly changing," said parish councillor Bob Dolby.

He added: "It is completely full at the moment with books. Anyone is free to come and take a book and leave one that you have already read.

"This facility has turned a piece of street furniture into a community service in constant use."

A resident dreamed up the idea when the village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession.

Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council bought the phone box from BT in a national scheme for a token £1.

BT has received 770 applications for communities to 'adopt a kiosk', and so far 350 boxes have been handed over to parish councils.

Phone boxes have been turned into art installations, a shower and even a public toilet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Local government mergers and the future of libraries in Western Australia

Funding challenges in WA compounded by fears of what local government mergers could mean for libraries in the state

Public library managers in Western Australia are working flat out to put together a business case for an alternative funding model, to replace the one that has been in operation since 1954. Until the new funding agreement has been signed off, the State Government has capped its contribution to the annual library budget at $6.5 million. There had been a further $10 million in top-up funding spread over the previous four years.

A library manager told ALN, ‘A report was prepared for the joint advisory committee on libraries a couple of years ago and it made 111 recommendations. Because of all the changes, we’re about 12 months behind where we thought we would be, but there are lots of working groups tackling the top 10 recommendations and the big one is the funding model.’

If the new funding model is finished in time, there is a chance that the State Government could be persuaded to grant additional cash in years two and three of the current three-year plan.

At the start of the year, there was nervousness about what local government amalgamation in WA might mean for public libraries, and the situation has not improved. Our source said, ‘There is still a great deal of uncertainty around amalgamation'.

In February this year the minister for local government announced the Liberal-National government package of local government reform strategies. The principle strategies in the package focus on voluntary structural reform of local government.

Specifically, the strategies encourage local government to take steps voluntarily to amalgamate and form larger local governments to reduce the total number of elected members to between six and nine, and for local governments to form appropriate regional groupings of councils to assist with the efficient delivery of services.

‘Local government was invited to submit proposals to a steering committee by the end of September 2009. The steering committee is due to submit a report to the minister for local government next month [December2009]. There is still a great deal of uncertainty, particularly for the regional areas, as to whether there will be mandatory amalgamations, with little information, apart from speculation, being forthcoming.’

Source: Australian Library News 19 November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009


Please refer below to the 1-page Aplis December 2009 Editorial.

As the Australian public library sector contemplates, post the July 2009 first Australian public libraries summit, A vision and national framework for Australian public libraries for submission to the federal, state/territory and local governments of Australia in 2010 it needs to be unequivocal about its political and funding responsibility focus – and that focus should not be local government. There has been too ready an acceptance in the sector and elsewhere that because local government has generally the operational and part funding responsibility for the Australian public library system, that public libraries must continue to swim, tread water or slowly drown according to the vagaries of local decision makers and finances.
To reverse this acceptance requires a greater understanding of how much, and why, the sector is poorly funded relative to international best practice; relative to its demonstrable return on investment; and relative to very much higher and sometimes wasted national expenditure on related educational and other agencies. That understanding is lacking, or is tacitly ignored, by those practitioners in the sector who assume that they must continue to struggle on shoestring budgets within the local government, and that the only possible panacea is federal government funding for public libraries. There is certainly a role for the federal government in supporting national public library initiatives, technology and infrastructure – as it is now effectively doing in contributing economic stimulus funding to a number of new and redeveloped public library buildings, and also through the national bibliographic, digital and reference initiatives of the National Library of Australia. Also, just as the federal government is now holding to account the states and territories for the equity, social inclusion and performance of their public education, health and other systems, it should consider doing so for the nation’s public library system – a first Australian public libraries review for 35 years would be a useful start. The recurrent funding of that system is, however, not the responsibility of the federal government – and nor should it be.
For it is the states and territories of Australia which are responsible for the performance of public education, public health, public housing, and other people critical areas within their jurisdictions. Their now universally available state or territory wide public library systems no less – yet they have in the last 25 years to varying degrees been allowed to handball that responsibility to local governments pressed to meet and fund other community needs devolved to them. One outcome has been that all are now contributing, to a greater or lesser degree, tokenistic funding to their public library systems. If the state and territory governments had maintained over the last 25 years their public library funding relative to that of local government and as a percentage of their own annual expenditures, the 2009/2010 investment in Australia’s public library system would likely now be double the current total funding of only $800 million pa – and this wealthy country would be investing in its public library system not at a lowly one third of international best practice, but at a more commendable two thirds.
So if a way forward is sought to change the poor overall investment in Australia’s public library system, look not to the federal government, only partly to local government, but largely to the dismal leadership and performance of the state and territory governments, particularly those of NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
The current Australian federal government was elected two years ago with a promise of a new approach to cooperative federalism, dispelling the ‘blame game’, and strengthening the partnerships between the three levels of Australian government. Nowhere is a new approach, and more responsible partnerships, required than in ensuring much better investment in the Australian public library system in the 21st century. This requires clarity about what should be asked of the three levels of Australian government for that system, and its unequivocal exposition in A vision and national framework for Australian public libraries.
Alan Bundy
Aplis 22(4) December 2009 141

For links to APLIS publications/journals

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Amalgamations won't fix resourcing, says LGSA

SYDNEY: Amalgamating Sydney's councils won't make the problem of resourcing go away, the Local Government and Shires Associations have (LGSA) said.

In a response to suggestions made by the Sydney Business Chamber that the city’s councils could be reduced from 42 to 12, the President of the Local Government Association Cr Genia McCaffery said that amalgamations would not fix the problem of resourcing.

“Decreasing the number of Sydney councils won’t necessarily make the problem of under-resourced councils go away,” she said.

“It won’t remove the burden of an unfair rate pegged system, inadequate tax allocations, a cost shifting bill that totaled $431 million in 07/08 or an infrastructure renewal backlog that grows by $500 million each year.

“Before we start talking about amalgamation or reform we need to address these problems, and the only way to do that is with more funding from the State and Federal Government.

“If you amalgamate two under-resourced councils without considering all the other factors, all you will end up with is a larger under-resourced council.”

President of the Shires Association Cr Bruce Miller said NSW councils were already investigating ways to modernise the sector.

“There are many options to consider – electoral, structural, functional, industrial and organisational,” he said.

“And if some councils are eventually amalgamated, there are a host of things to consider. Rural and regional councils for example, have a smaller population but a larger geographic area to maintain.
“Residents might have to travel more than 100km simply to attend a council meeting to have their say on local issues.

“We want to work with the State Government to ensure the best possible changes are made with the best outcomes for our local communities.”

A recent report by the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA) also called for a consolidation of local urban councils in the Sydney basin, reducing the total number of councils from 42 councils to just 11.

The ACEA recommended that the Department of Local Government be abolished and its functions merged into a new super-department of planning and local government. LGSA said it was a sensible idea but unlikely to succeed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recently addicted to....

When you need a laugh...go and check out:

There are so many gems there - for example:

The other day, I was In the TV room when I heard some weird noises coming from the kitchen. Thinking that my cat was hurt, I ran into the kitchen and found her in the space between the cabinet and the wall. She was doing backflips by leaping at the wall and pushing off of it with her paws. I gasped in amazement, and she immediately stopped, meowed and ran off. I feel like I know more than I should. MLIA

Changes in Professional Development...coming to a TAFE near you?

From Chris Jones at Great Lakes:

Over the past twelve months the North-East Zone has been made increasingly aware of some of the limitiations of existing Certificate IV and Diploma courses in Library Studies.

The Zone is very pleased to announce an exciting new program being offered by the North Coast Institute of TAFE.

In 2010 the NCI-TAFE will be running the Certificate IV and the Diploma in Library/Information Services.

What's so special about these courses. Just about everything! No other library course in Australia can claim all of the following:

1. Flexible online delivery (so the course comes to you)
2. Quality course content developed with major input by public library professionals, ensuring content is relevant to your actual workplace this has been a goal all along - it's not just affordable, it's of high quality)
3. An effective Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) structure. No longer should it be harder to prove you've got the skills than it is to do the unit
4. A phone and email support structure provided by dedicated TAFE staff
5. As cost-effective as possible - including opportunities for Existing Worker Traineeships to make the course zero cost to Council and student

Also, make sure you chat with your Human Resouces department about Existing Worker Traineeships (EWT) and New Traineeships (NT) as the Certificate IV is eligible for both. At present, there are funding option depending on how you do the Diploma that would signifcantly reduce your costs. We are also actively lobbying the Federal Government for even more direct course support for the Diploma.

If you'd like to know more about these courses the following librarians have all been heavily involved with their development and are happy to chat with you:

Enzo Accadia - Coffs Harbour - 6648 4129 -
Chris Jones - Great Lakes - 6591 7269 -
Margie Wallis - Greater Taree - 6592 5291 -

The courses will commence on 8 February 2010, with a closing date of 22 January 2010Please note that the sooner TAFE has numbers the better for their planning.

This is your chance to support a course that has been designed with input from your own profession for your own staff. And it's more than just about the content the whole delivery program has been designed to suit the students - not just the course providers. The people that really benefit are the library profession. With your support these courses will become a model for all other library courses in Australia.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Restricted Classification Discussion

This question came over the Public Library Network and it raised a good discussion that I wanted to share with you:

Dear Colleagues
I have one book in the collection with the following information attached to the front cover:
The book in question is American psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
I can find no record of a restricted classification recorded in the Australian government classification database, so I was wondering if any other libraries hold this title and, if so, do you restrict its borrowing??

One answer came back very quickly from the State Library:

American psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is restricted as a result of the national classification scheme in Australia see for details of its classification.

The Classification web site has a searchable database so that you can check if any title is under restricted access

Another comment:

Wow, that's a blast from the past. Quite controversial when it came out in 1991, at one point it looked like it would be banned outright. Certainly generated a lot of interest in the author and the book. There are only 8 holdings listed on LA so there aren't many copies around. I believe that you are legally required to restrict lending of the item to people under the age of 18 years. It must be shelved in such a way as to reasonably limit access to people under 18. It gets a bit grey around that last bit and that's really where you need to make a decision about what your local community would think reasonable. Closed stack access, or open shelving in the "adult section".We had a similar predicament with Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, a classic but restricted all the same.

And finally, a legislative answer, also from the State Library of NSW:

There are two pieces of legislation for NSW public library staff to be aware of re: items that have MA material and restricted classifications, ie:

(a) a film classified MA 15+ or R 18+
(b) a publication classified Category 1 restricted or Category 2 restricted
(c) a computer game classified MA 15+ or RC

Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth)

Public Library Exemption under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 (NSW)
The two Library Council of NSW publications that will be of most assistance are:

1. Library Council of New South Wales | Children's Policy Guidelines for NSW public libraries
(a simple summary of the relevant sections from both pieces of legislation is listed in Appendix 2 and Appendix 2a pp.14-15)
2. Library Council of New South Wales | Access to Information in New South Wales Public Libraries Guideline
(describes the role of NSW public libraries in relation to censorship)

What are your thoughts on Censorship?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Books in Australia to remain unchanged

Source: Media Release from The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP


The Government has decided not to change the Australian regulatory regime for books introduced by the previous Labor government.

Australian book printing and publishing is under strong competitive pressure from international online booksellers such as Amazon and The Book Depository and the Government has formed the view that that this pressure is likely to intensify.

In addition, the technology of electronic books (e-books) like Kindle Books will continue to improve with further innovations and price reductions expected.

The Government has not accepted the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to remove the parallel importation restrictions on books.

Commentary from Meanjin magazine on the decision:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is the smartest card?

***Information: An interesting public awareness campaign in the US featuring the ALA (American Library Association) and various high profile people in North Carolina***

September 22, 2009
The smartest card in North Carolina is a library card

Chicago – For the fourth year in a row, the State Library of North Carolina is proving that the smartest card in North Carolina is a library card. For the latest edition of North Carolina’s Smartest Card campaign, the state library selected Gov. Bev Perdue as its spokesperson.

“A public library card gives you access to a whole world of information and imagination,” said Gov. Perdue in a video podcast available on YouTube.

The governor went on to remind North Carolinians that, “In tough economic times, our state’s public libraries are critical, because they help residents learn to read, use computers and develop other skills they need to succeed.”

In addition to the podcast, the library featured Perdue in a public service announcement (PSA). Perdue also issued a proclamation announcing September as Library Card Sign-up Month.

During the last fiscal year, Perdue’s constituents visited their public libraries more than 37 million times and used library computers on more than 9 million occasions. In North Carolina, circulation of library materials is up 20 percent and access to public computers is up 86 percent.

ALA is promoting Library Card Sign-up Month nationally with WNBA star and Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair Candace Parker. Libraries looking to promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download print and audio PSAs featuring Parker. For information and to download PSAs visit

Other promotional materials, including a sample press release, letter to the editor, proclamation, PSA scripts, logos and buttons, can also be found at

Previous spokespeople in North Carolina have included world renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, actress Andie MacDowell and Kevyn Adams, former co-captain of the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations that advocate the importance of the library in American society.

Megan McFarlane
Campaign Coordinator
The Campaign for America's Libraries
American Library Association
50 E. Huron Chicago, IL 60611
Check out PIO's blog: Visibility @ your library®

Monday, November 2, 2009

Banned Book Week in the United States

The last week of September marks banned book week in the United States.

This year's American Library Association list of books which were challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in the US in 2008 and 2009 includes "Twilight", "The Catcher in the Rye", "The Kite Runner" and "The Golden Compass". And while classics such as "The Book of Bunny Suicides: Little Fluffy Rabbits Who Just Don't Want to Live Anymore" add a somewhat ridiculous note to the list, it will make you think about freedom of speech, the press, censorship and the library's role in the free flow of information. You can download it now at:
- and see how many you've read!

It's worth noting that ALIA's first core value for the sector is "Promotion of the free flow of information and ideas through open access to recorded knowledge, information, and creative works."(

If you would like to read ALIA's Statement on free access to information, please see
Your membership supports ALIA's valuable advocacy work in this area. More information about ALIA's advocacy work is available here

Friday, October 30, 2009

ALIA Draft Vision and National Framework

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is seeking your participation in a consultation process on a draft vision and national framework for Australian public libraries.

At the ALIA Public Libraries Summit on 16 July 2009, delegates gave ALIA a clear mandate to take the lead in developing a national framework for public libraries, working collaboratively with Public Libraries Australia (PLA), Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA), National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), and the state and territory based public library associations.

ALIA has produced a project plan to guide the process, and has now developed a document which represents stage two - the draft vision and strategy.

The document is available via the Summit website

The draft ideas are based on discussions and feedback from the ALIA Public Libraries Summit 2009, papers submitted by the key Australian public library organisations in advance of the Summit, and public library vision and strategy work carried out in other parts of the world.

ALIA would like to hear your views about this shared vision and national framework for Australian public libraries. Please feel free to circulate this document to your members and to anyone outside your own organisation.

The consultation process will take place over the three months October to December 2009. ALIA would appreciate receiving your response on or before Friday 11 December 2009. Submission details are in the document.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New ALIA e-list

A new e-list has been set up: aliaIR.

This list aims to provide a vehicle for informed discussion on issues relating to libraries in employment law, industrial relations and the world of work, to encourage the sharing of information and ideas and to provide a facility to solve impossible reference queries.

Industrial relations is a highly specialised subject area. This list may help to unlock IR expertise for the benefit of our colleagues.

While this will be primarily of relevance to Australian IR libraries, overseas libraries are also encouraged to join. I welcome any suggestions with regard to developing and expanding this list, and hope you will pass this information on to likely members.

To join, follow this link:

Monday, October 26, 2009

In diverse times, libraries seek to broaden appeal


NEW YORK -- Sheryl Toque settled into her seat in the East Elmhurst branch of the Queens Library, her children playing nearby.

She wasn't there to borrow a book. But she did want information - the 33-year-old Philippines native wants to become an American citizen. So she went to the library for a seminar with a civics teacher and a lawyer to go through the immigration process. It wasn't the first time she's used the Queens Library for help; she has also taken English classes at another branch.

"It's usually free so you don't have to spend anything extra," she said. "I like it because I could also bring my kids with me."

Libraries have always been in the business of providing information. But as diversity continues to grow in the United States, libraries like the system in Queens are trying to remain vital and relevant to their communities by offering information in a range of new ways.

They're doing that not only by adding material in multiple languages to their collections, but also through programming that includes citizenship courses, tax help and cancer screenings.

"It's inevitable that all public libraries are affected and impacted by the diversity of this country," said Sari Feldman, president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association.

"We've become more relevant and more critical to people's lives than ever before."

So in Dallas, the schedule includes a bilingual introductory computer class among its events. In Seattle, library offerings include multilingual help with filling out forms at tax time. And when the library closed for a week last month because of budget problems, the notice was translated into 12 languages.

The demographics of Seattle have changed, so "as a library we have to be responsive to those changes and meet the needs of our diverse and changing customer base," said Andra Addison, spokeswoman for the Seattle Public Library.

"Libraries have recognized the critical role that they play in information and also in education," Feldman said.

Nowhere is that more true than in Queens, which was named the 2009 Library of the Year by the Library Journal. Admirers say it has become a prime example of how libraries can remain relevant and vital to the changing communities they serve. Its collection contains works in several dozen languages, and programming includes such topics as English literacy and health screenings.

That's what's needed in a borough that, with more than 2 million residents, is larger than most American cities. Census estimates show that almost half of those residents are foreign-born. More than half speak a language other than English at home, and of those, a majority say they don't speak English very well.

The demographics of what is arguably the country's most diverse county would present a challenge for any organization looking to connect to its community. But for the library, taking on that challenge has proved to be an opportunity to thrive.

"They do it in Queens in ways that we hadn't even seen before," said John N. Berry III, editor-at-large at Library Journal.

Michael Fix, the senior vice president and co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, said the system was a model. He noted that the library has a full-time employee whose job is to analyze the demographics of the borough.

"In each case, what they do is widely recognized as representing the best practices in the field," he said.

The Queens library system is one of three in New York City; Brooklyn has its own system, and the New York Public Library covers the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Among its offerings, the Queens system - 61 branches along with a main headquarters -holds story hours and other programs in multiple languages; provides classes for immigrants and natives wanting to learn or improve their English; offers sessions where those needing to file visa and immigration paperwork online can get help; holds seminars on topics including how to start a business and foreclosure prevention; and works with other groups to offer information on where to get health screenings and medical treatment.

Jacqueline Flood has been using the library since she was 6 years old, but not like this. The 56-year-old Flood, unemployed for 18 months, has an appointment for a mammogram at a mobile screening center that visits library branches.

"A lot of people use the library," she said. "It's good to know they're able to supply the community with things other than books."

The Queens library continues to try offering such services even as the financial downturn has cut into funding, as it has for libraries around the country.

The library had to close an art gallery, took a bookmobile off the road and has frozen hiring. As some branches have reduced hours, some cultural programs have been trimmed. CEO Thomas Galante said he hopes the economic situation will improve before the system has to cut staff positions or make any other changes to library offerings.

Even with a broader range of programming, the library still fills its traditional role - it has more than 22 million items in circulation per year, a figure that puts it among the top libraries anywhere. Those materials are available in a number of languages.

"For a library to be relevant over the next decades," he said, "you need to be a community place that offers lots of different services all around information and access to technology."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Libraries Rebuild with Books 24-31 October 2009

Rebuilding with Books for libraries starts tomorrow with dozens of libraries representing every state and territory taking part in the fundraising to buy book vouchers for people who lost their homes in the Victorian bushfires.
Over the next eight days there will be free dress days in WA, book sales in Victoria, South Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory, morning teas in Tasmania and cup cake days in NSW.

It's not too late to join in the fun for a very worthy cause.

For further information visit

For enquiries, please call or email Sue McKerracher, ALIA Project Manager
Phone: 0404 456749

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anne Hall Report from IFLA Conference

***Report from Anne Hall,
Manager Library and Museum Services, Fairfield City Council (Sydney)***

Anne recently (August 2009) attended the 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly - Libraries create futures: Building on cultural heritage held in Milan, Italy, and presented a paper (Public Library Resources and Programs to Pan Mediterranean Language Groups in Australia) at the IFLA Satellite Meeting - Libraries and Society: A Pan-Mediterranean Perspective held in Palermo, Sicily.
Please find below Anne's very interesting report on the above events.

World Library and Information Congress:
75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
"Libraries create futures: Building on cultural heritage"
23-27 August 2009, Milan, Italy


IFLA Satellite Meeting
“Libraries and Society: A Pan-Mediterranean Perspective”
31August-1 September 2009 Palermo, Sicily

Anne Hall
Manager, Library and Museum Services
Fairfield City Council

September 2009
I am really pleased I attended 2009 IFLA Milan as it is an event worth experiencing. There were nearly 4,000 participants and that many librarians in one place are quite daunting! The venue was in an isolated place, nothing around except one little cafe which was packed as the food in the venue was expensive and the service poor.

I took the train in from Despenzano on Lake Garda about 1hr 20mins on Saturday August 22nd for my SIG (Special Interest Group Meeting) Library Service to Multicultural Populations 1st meeting. I then took the Metro from Central Station and then the 20 minute walk through deserted streets in very hot weather
(30 degrees) to the Conference Centre! Luckily I met a Spanish Librarian on the train (we do stand out from the crowd) who knew the way! We did find out that there was a shuttle bus for the rest of the Conference, thank goodness!

SIG members were all very friendly (of course) and came from Russia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, USA, Finland, Japan, Germany, Spain, England, Netherlands, and of course Italy with a fellow Australian Robert Pestell who I know as a LOTE supplier and who has been a long term member of the SIG. I had to take the train back to Lake Garda arriving at the hotel about 11pm. I moved into central
Milan on Sunday having spent a beautiful but hot 4 days at Lake Garda including a trip to Verona to see Aida performed in the open amphitheatre. On Sunday evening I attended the Concert at La Scala organised especially for the Conference. It was a spectacular event with an extrovert conductor, excellent orchestra and 4 opera singers who sang solos and duets.

On Monday, in the morning, I attended the Public Libraries and Metropolitan Libraries session. Christine McKenzie’s paper (from Yarra Plenty) "Emerging Themes for public libraries looking forward" was read by her husband as she was unable to attend at the last minute. Her paper placed emphasis on 3 areas: use of buildings, staff development and work force planning and the increasing use of research to inform decision making and implement evidence based practice. The purpose of her paper was to draw out the themes, discussions and learning from the Metlib SIG mid term meeting in Brisbane held in May 2009.

This paper is available on the IFLA site.

There was another Australian speaker! Marion Morgan Bindon, Library Manager Gold Coast City Libraries. My notes indicate GCCL has a resource budget of 6m with a collection comprised of 8% newspapers/ serials, 47% books including audio books, 23% DVDs and music, 21% on-line resources.

They have collections in 3 languages with back up from SLQ. On-line training packages are also available. GCCL strongly advocates research based decision making.

I enjoyed hearing Thomas Galante the CEO of Queens Library, NY which has 2.2m residents who speak 160 languages. The Library has a Board of 19 Trustees with government and non-government support. It collects in 26 languages and has 1800 staff including 450 librarians! I was particularly interested in their
BOOST (Best Out of School Time) programme which runs from 3-6 Monday to Friday. This program employs youth with excellent grades to tutor others. I was pleased that most programs he spoke about were already being done at Fairfield and many other NSW libraries albeit on a much smaller scale.

Paul Whitney from Vancouver Public Library spoke about the impact of technology on public library usage. They break down their circulation usage in 4 year age gaps for children and youth to track the increases and decreases. Once again Vancouver Library is researching to support decision making. They have 112 databases so is this justified? How are they being used and are they making a difference? They have experienced a huge increase in AV which he believes will not continue and a
gradual decrease in print loans which he believes will continue. I don’t think many of us would disagree with these statements. On-line renewals have also increased dramatically. It’s worth checking out their Library to Go collection at:

and the project Best of BC (British Colombia) Books On-line at:

which Paulspoke about.

A speaker (unfortunately I didn’t note the name) from Stockholm Public Library structured this paper under the themes of Learning, Lending, Reading. The slogan for the library is “The Library makes the City grow if the Library grows with the City”.

Their common value is “the good encounter” (approach and attitude towards the customer and each other). They use process mapping to discuss what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they do it. They use evidence based learning and engage leadership at ever level. So once again I would be confident that this is happening in many NSW libraries. For this session the only scheduled speaker was Christine with the others being a "surprise". The program is still not updated on the IFLA website (and the book in the conference bag was way too heavy
to carry home). Christine's is still the only paper available.

Monday afternoon I listened to the first paper in the session Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning where a mention was made to check the recent ads placed by Gosford Library and then I dashed of to Libraries for Children and Young Adults and Library Buildings and Equipment. I would
recommend the paper The red thread – New central Library in Hjoerring, Denmark

as it has some terrific photos for inspiration.

Also the paper Library of 100 Talents – Heerhugowaard, Netherlands shows consultation with children and matching to final design or not? I would recommend that Managers encourage their children’s librarians to read the papers from this session which are all available on the IFLA site.

An idea I came away with was Newspapers for Children by Children, something I would like to explore at Fairfield. I also made a note that I should check out the IFLA Guidelines for Children and Children’s Libraries and the Designing Libraries website especially since we are about to refurbish the central children’s library.

Later Monday afternoon I attended the second SIG meeting hosted at the Goethe Institute in central Milan and afterwards the SIG dinner at a nearby restaurant. I am now on a working group to redesign the group’s newsletter! It is evident that this group is focussed by an excellent Chairperson, Mijin Kim Director Public Programs and Exhibitions Library and Archives Canada Ottawa and Secretary Susy
Tastesen Librarian Head of Department Copenhagen Public Libraries Denmark. The dinner was a good opportunity to network and discuss common issues and challenges and talk about our libraries.

Tuesday I took the day off to explore Milan as there was nothing on the programme which interested me. I saw the fresco The Last Supper by Da Vinci which was magnificent and I also visited the beautiful Duomo (Milan Cathedral) and climbed around the roof which was as spectacular as the interior. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele was very beautiful and the Conference dinner could be taken in some of the
restaurants and cafés there (or near there) including McDonald’s which is in a key position in the Galleria!

On Wednesday I attended the session on Library Services to Multicultural Populations. My favourite paper was Join us for a Journey through Islamic Art by Kirsten Leth Nielsen from Oslo Public Library.

This tells how a travelling exhibition based on a Picture Book can expose children to a different and often misunderstood culture. I will be encouraging the Multicultural Working Group to look at this for a future project. I was also interested to hear about the project by the National Library of Serbia which is digitising the literature and culture of the Romani people. A paper from Romania about preserving the traditions of Russian minority groups on-line showed an effective librarian/community member partnership which was passionate and inspiring. The papers from this session are also available on the IFLA website.

I attended the Copyright session in the afternoon, which was quite overwhelming due to the different opinions of the panel. It is evident that governments and the legal system are not keeping up with the pace of technology change and its impact on copyright. I also stayed for the General Assembly and caught up with Jan Richards and Sue Hutley who of course were able to vote on the motions. It was pleasing to note that many delegates expressed disappointment in the cancellation of the Brisbane event.

It is amazing that Gothenburg have been able to take on such a large event in such a short time frame and they were congratulated for this.

The Conference exhibition was as expected very large and I whizzed around it stopping at the Sirsi Dynix stand and any stands with library furniture. One I would recommend to look at was

if you haven’t already which has a publication The reader friendly library
service which I intend to purchase.

The Satellite Conference in Palermo was an entirely different experience. There were only 35 participants including the speakers, so it was very intimate especially as it was held in the Steri Palace, a quite large and beautiful building which is part of the University of Palermo. All the papers were interesting and I hope that they eventually appear on the website.

I especially enjoyed the paper given by the Chief Librarian Sohair Wastawy from the Alexandrine Library, Alexandria Egypt. I’d love to visit this library. Sohair was born in Egypt but had worked in the US for 35 years before returning to take up the position in 2004. The common theme which emerged for me from most of the presentations was the educational support to children provided by public libraries with little or no recognition or financial support from the education sector in Italy, Spain, Egypt, Tunisia, Canada, US and Australia. My presentation, Public Library Resources and Programs to Pan Mediterranean Language Groups in Australia, which included video clips of children and adults who had attended library programs speaking about their experience, was well received. All speakers were passionate about services to their culturally diverse communities.

The Special Library Foundation in Seville, Spain experience of collecting and sharing the Islamic, Christian and Jewish culture and religion was especially thought provoking as was the US Indigenous Library Service initiatives.

This conference dinner beside the sea in a very atmospheric restaurant was preceded by a bus trip up the mountain giving great views of Palermo. I also managed to take a 2 ½ hr bus ride to Catania to see Mt Etna before the Conference which gave me a good look at the Sicilian countryside. Mt Etna was eerie as it was very hot but with lots of thunder and lightening over the mountain.

Thank you very much to PLM, the State Library of NSW and Fairfield City Council for the financial support which helped to make my attendance possible. It was greatly appreciated.

Palermo- Ann-Katrin (Sweden) Anne (Australia) Sohair (Egypt) Domenico (Italy)

SIG Meeting 24th August Goethe Institute
Volker (Germany), Yasuko (Japan), Ayub (UK), Flemming (Denmark), Fred (US)

Palermo delegates and speakers

Poster Presentation in Milan: Kirsten (Norway) Lourina (Netherlands) Yasuko (Japan) Anne (Australia)

Palermo: Susy (Denmark) Gisela (Spain) Begona (Tunisia) Olga (Spain) Christine (who taught English to Giselaand interpreted for her)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prime Minister Web Chat

The Prime Minister will be hosting a web chat from 9am to 10am, Thursday 22 October 2009 on topics including mental health, internet filtering, climate change, alcohol-fuelled violence and how young people can be empowered to shape the decisions that affect their lives.

Webchat link here

Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking for a Change?

Subject: Seeking assistance to find a volunteer to help establish a Tetun language library in rural East Timor

My name is Daniel Gilfillan, from Palms Australia. Palms is a volunteer sending agency who have been sending skilled volunteers to the Asia-Pacific and Africa for almost 50 years. We have a request from rural East Timor for a librarian or teacher-librarian to assist one of the local government bodies there to set up a library. I am hoping that you can send some information through your network so we can attract a suitably qualified person who would be interested in living in East Timor for two years working with a local committee to establish a library.

I've included a summary of the position below, in case you can pass on this information through your networks. As you would be aware East Timor has a very low literacy rate, and rural areas are particularly disadvantaged. One local government body has identified that a Tetun language library would be of great benefit to their community, encouraging an enthusiasm for reading in young people, in a country where books are not widely available, particularly books in a language that the children speak. They have asked Palms Australia to look for a volunteer to support the building of a Tetun language library to combat illiteracy.

If you think you would be interested in contributing two years of your time and expertise to assist the local committee to establish a library, including training staff, developing library systems and reading programs, and coordinating the building a physical library, or if you would like further information please contact Palms ( / or visit our website:

Kind Regards,
Daniel Gilfillan

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ALIA 2010 conference with no name.....

ALIA and the conference committee for the 2010 conference need our input in choosing a name for the conference. They have put up a poll on their home page
and have invited us to vote!

Just to remind you they are planning a very different format to the usual ALIA conferences. There has been great suggestions on the wiki a few weeks ago which sparked much innovative thinking and the committee has received lots of interesting program proposals from ALIA groups and advisory committees.

So start to plan to attend the [no-name yet till you vote] conference in Brisbane on 2-3 September 2010!

Thanks for voting.

Kind regards,

Graham Black
ALIA [no-name] Conference Committee

Monday, October 12, 2009

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) has asked ALIA to assist in publicising this survey.

Australian libraries are encouraged to support this important initiative over the next two months. The National Attitudinal Survey is an innovative community project designed to gauge Australia's attitudes on issues of child abuse and neglect.

Led by NAPCAN and supported by the Federal Government, the short 15min survey will bring together Australia's public sector, business, communities and individuals to form one voice against child abuse and neglect.

Consider this:

* Over 30,000 children are abused or neglected in Australia every year.

* 1 in 3 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

* 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

How can you act right now? By going to:

There are also some excellent resources for libraries to use to promote the survey that can be downloaded from the website.

After you have finished the survey, forward the link to other staff, colleagues and your family and friends.

By doing so you will join NAPCAN's Children's Champion, Therese Rein, Channel 7 personality and 2007 Father of the Year David Koch, 100s of businesses, government departments and community organisations, and thousands of other Australians in acting to keep our children safe into the future.

NAPCAN thanks the library and information community in supporting this survey and in publicising it in libraries.

Jane Hardy AALIA
Assistant Director, Strategy & Advocacy
Australian Library and Information Association
PO Box 6335 Kingston ACT 2604
ph 02 6215 8235
fx 02 6282 2249

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Borrowing request refused?

Camden Council, in north London,
has apologised to a member of the
public who was refused the loan of
a pair of scissors because she
‘might stab a member of staff.’
Lorna Watts, the library user, said,
‘It’s absurd—there are plenty of
heavy books I could have hit her
with if I’d wanted to.’

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IFLA Closing Day Puts Focus Back on Global Economy

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) closed its 75th World Library and Information Congress August 27 with National Organizing Committee chair Mauro Guerrini announcing that the five–day conference in Milan had attracted 3,931 registrants, along with 228 volunteers and members of the Italian staff, 128 exhibitors, 34 press, 30 interpreters and assorted other guests, for a total attendance of 4,496.

A jubilant Guerrini noted that local media had paid attention to the conference and its “great success” is a sign of the vitality of libraries, “especially during this global financial crisis.”

Preceding the closing session, at a special panel session on the global economic crisis presciently organized by IFLA President Claudia Lux of Germany, some 50 World Library and Information Congress delegates gathered for the last word on how libraries worldwide are likely to fare in the short run.

Panelist Michael Dowling, director of the ALA (American Library Association) International Relations Office, emphasized that the involvement of library advocates and lobbyists was going to be essential to funding, as it was in the United States when the e-rate became law, giving publicly funded libraries and schools a small but significant slice of telecommunications revenue.

He noted that the American Library Association is leveraging the rising demand for library programs and services to make the case for funding. Panelist and member of the IFLA Governing Board Zhang Xiaolin of China agreed, saying, “This is an opportunity to expand our social responsibility, to put collections and knowledge to use.”

At the closing session, debate over the cancellation of the scheduled 2010 IFLA conference in Brisbane, Australia, was put to rest with the presentation of an official invitation to Gothenburg, Sweden, which stepped in as a replacement when the Australian organisers realized that they could not raise the funding required to host. The IFLA Executive Board had already emphasised in a statement issued in IFLA Express during the conference in Milan, the congress daily, that “there were no contractual costs or penalties associated with this decision.” Agneta Olsson thanked the Australian delegates for their graciousness and for the opportunity to host an IFLA conference in Gothenburg, while the rest of the Swedish contingent cheered to the tune of Abba singing “Take a Chance on Me.”

Then came the announcement that Helsinki, Finland, had been selected to host IFLA 2012 and that Southeast Asia and Oceana has been designated as the chosen region for the 2013 congress, opening the door for Malaysia, runner up in the 2010 competition originally won by Brisbane.

U. S. member of the IFLA Governing Board Nancy Gwinn presided over a brief awards presentation that included Newsletter of the Year, which went to the Section on Literacy and Reading. Gwinn noted that IFLA section newsletters are “almost all electronic and more and more sophisticated.” Among the awards was the presentation of the IFLA Scroll for outstanding service to the federation to, among others, Barbara Tillett of the Library of Congress. Newly elected members of the Governing Board and chairs of Professional Committees were paraded on stage, including Special Libraries Association Executive Director Janice Lachance, new chair of the Management of Library Associations Section.

IFLA Governing Board member Bob McKee, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the U. K., gave a vote of thanks to the Milan organizers in passionate Italian, to much applause, followed by the passing of the gavel from Lux to incoming IFLA President Ellen Tise of South Africa, whom Lux called “a role model activist for libraries.” Tise promised to continue the momentum of her predecessors: “Through all of these moments in its history, IFLA has endured and stayed faithful to those who preceded,” she said, announcing her theme as “Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge.”

Knowledge is the key to success, she stated, and “equitable access to information is a fundamental right of all people.” She said that the way to protect that right is for librarians to be fully engaged in the lives of their communities. “We must be concerned about the public good, the principles of equality and human rights for all,” she concluded, and that is especially true for “those whose working environments are not as privileged as ours.”

IFLA Website

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Lost Symbol

There weren’t quite queues outside the bookshops, but sales of the first Dan
Brown novel in five years, following his runaway bestseller The Da Vinci
Code, put him in a similar league to J K Rowling.
This month’s most talked-about launch, The Lost Symbol, is available in
hardback, with an RRP of $49.95, and as an e-book, at the same price,
launched today on the publisher’s website .Random House website

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Text Messaging Reference

Can you help me? :-)

A new challenge looms for library reference staff, with the advent of text messaging enquiry services. The aim is to provide users with answers to their questions, sent direct to their mobile phones, within minutes of them lodging their enquiry.
While individual libraries have dabbled in this area, My Info Quest has launched in the US, claiming to be the first collaborative venture of this kind, with 50 ibraries taking part in the test. The organisation behind the project, Alliance Library System, has developed partnerships with libraries and software providers.

Find more information at:

and Library System

Monday, August 24, 2009

World library community helps design the future

A draft of the final report on the Open Library Environment (OLE)project is now available to view on the website at:

Final Report

The project has involved some 400 participants from libraries around the world, who answered the call for the international library community to assist in designing an alternative to the current standard model of the integrated library system (ILS).

The stated goal was to ‘produce a design document to inform open source library system development efforts, to guide future library system implementations, and to influence current ILS vendor products.’

The National Library of Australia was one of the 14 leading project partners in OLE, and the only one based outside the US. In addition, library people from Europe, Asia and Africa took part in workshops and webcasts.

Australian institutions involved in the process included the University and State Library of Tasmania; Deakin, La Trobe and Swinburne Universities and the Chisholm Institute, in Victoria; the Australian Digital Futures Institute, at the University of Southern Queensland; the State Library of NSW and the Murdoch University, WA.

The partners in the project are in discussions with potential investors to
use the findings of the report to develop a new library technology platform.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Article from APLIS

APLIS 22(3) September 2009

The first Australian public libraries summit, commendably convened, organised and largely underwritten by the Australian Library and Information Association, was held on 16 July in Canberra. For a summary of its deliberations and outcomes see:

Summit summary

The 50 or so summit delegates saw much confirmation of the work and importance of Australia’s public library system. But with little federal, state and local government political or bureaucratic presence there to hear and learn, this belated first summit could only point to the real issue for the sector and its advocates. That issue for public libraries, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, is ‘Their funding,

It is the issue which now needs to be addressed with much more urgency, energy and collective focus than during the last 20 years or so that it has taken the sector’s leaders, and its members who may sometimes be characterised by their poverty make do mentality − to recognize that it is very underfunded, and have the courage to speak out politically and publicly about it, locally and nationally.

So what’s the urgency, if already about 60% of people of all ages use, value and rarely openly complain about their public libraries? Given the social inclusion emphasis in the summit, consider this. Volume three ‘Bridging the gaps’ of the landmark Victorian research reports Libraries/Building/Communities stated that:
The concern is that, among the 40% not using libraries, there are people who are hard to reach but who would benefit enormously from what the library has to offer. LBC data indicates that about 13% of Victorians fall into this category.

Extrapolate this 13% to the Australian population, and about 2.5 million people are currently socially excluded from public libraries. In some communities the percentage will be less, in others it will be much more. At what longterm cost is that to those people, their communities and society in general? With the current level of Australia’s investment in its public library system, that percentage
will not shift, and may even worsen.

The hard facts about public library constraints, performance, valuation, and return on investment are now well discovered. We do not need yet more research to confidently assert that Australia’s public library system has:
* an outstanding return on public investment of conservatively $5 for every dollar spent − nothing else can demonstrate such a high return
* very many more users and potential beneficiaries than any other educational, cultural or civic provision
* on a usage basis, by far the lowest per capital funding of any educational, cultural or civic provision
* at only about 9c per Australian per day, one third of international best practice public library funding.

These realities for Australia’s public library system represent a massive contradiction between the political and bureaucratic platitudes about the importance of public libraries, and the failure of the three levels of Australian government to even meet to establish a national strategy and compact about the development and funding of the nation’s public library system and its capacity to innovate. More pointedly, they represent the failure of the current federal government and the
responsible minister to show leadership in convening such a meeting, and holding the Australian states and territories to account for their public library funding dereliction.

Not much was said, then, about funding as the core public library issue at the summit, although full marks to Jan Fullerton, director general of the National Library of Australia for reminding delegates that the National Library is the only public library funded by the federal government, and for urging them to regard the funding issue as a key part of the debate.

Full marks also to Councillor Graham Smith, chairperson of Public Libraries NSW – Country for his observation that:
One of the major impediments is that many government and nongovernment organizations direct their clients to the public library, but they do not provide the funding for the provision of that public library service. Public libraries are the service desk for so many of our government and commercial organizations and recognition of that role is vital.

The British economist W S Jevons argued that:
The main raison d’etre of free public libraries, as indeed of public museums, art galleries, parks, halls, public clocks, and many other kinds of public works, is the enormous increase of utility which is thereby acquired for the community at a trifling cost.

Public clocks? Yes, Jevons was writing in 1881, when public clocks were the necessity which they no longer are. Public libraries, however, remain even more consequential to education, community capacity building and social inclusion, than they were with their resources in the 1880s. In Australia they also remain provided at the very trifling cost of $800 million per annum. Triple that to an international best practice $2.4 billion and the cost would still be trifling for a rich nation like Australia – for a demonstrable return to it of at least $14 billion.
So enough of the talking, platitudes, evasion, soft shoe shuffle and timidity about public library funding futures.

It’s well past the time for the leaders of Australia’s public library system and its other advocates to focus on the key issue for it, its funding − and to set short, medium and long term targets, and options for how the three levels of Australian governments should partner in meeting them.

Alan Bundy

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Librarians Series

Once again the team at Gristmill Productions and writers Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope have hit the library nerve with an uncanny knack with series 2 of their hit comedy, The Librarians.

Middleton Interactive Learning Centre is spick and span for series 2, props again provided by the many generous folk in Victorian Library Land. (Wayne, who also directs the show, says the book mobile loaned to the program by Yarra Plenty Library Service is the best prop he's ever had.)

There's absolutely no prize for spotting the Library Week posters on set, or for identifying your Victorian colleagues who may have been extras. No prizes either for figuring out where the disco glitter ball, blow-up kangaroo and that bookmobile fit into the storyline. But you will be able to join the conversation on the ALIA The Librarians blog again....

So, all ready for week 3? Blog about it
Blog here
tweet about it #thelibrarianstv or download some great stuff from
Download here

The Librarians - Series 2 airs on ABC1 at 9pm Wednesdays and ABC2 at 9.30pm Thursdays

Friday, August 14, 2009

SMH Article on Outsourcing

Bland ambition as libraries put bucks before books
Paul Bibby Urban Affairs Reporter
July 3, 2009
SYDNEY councils are quietly outsourcing the basic functions of librarians to private book suppliers, leaving suburbs with bland generic books that do not reflect local communities.

Anna Ioannidis at Marrickville Library. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

Six Sydney councils have put out to tender the task of selecting, supplying and cataloguing most new books for their 15 libraries.

Ashfield, Botany, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury and Marrickville councils say the use of a single private book supplier is more efficient and will not affect services or the quality of their collections.

But librarians say their basic professional tasks - determining their readers' tastes, sourcing books from up to 20 suppliers and cataloguing them in up to 12 languages - will be carried out by staff from large book suppliers such as Zenith or Peter Pal.

They say their libraries will suffer because private suppliers have no connection to local communities and will not be able to provide more unusual books, such as those by unknown authors or in foreign languages.

"It's the specialist language collections and the more obscure English-language selections that will suffer - you'll get a lot of lightweight stuff that people don't want to read," one librarian said.

Another said the quality of cataloguing would suffer.

"People don't realise how crucial good cataloguing is," the librarian said. "Not only do people have to be able to find books easily, especially as more are using the online catalogue, but most libraries have catalogues in seven or eight languages. If that stops, people from non-English speaking backgrounds won't be able to use the library at all."

The changes are part of a library trend. Canterbury, Baulkham Hills, Hurstville, Holroyd, Rockdale and Ryde councils have either outsourced some cataloguing functions or are about to do so.

A former cataloguer from Marrickville Library, Anna Ioannidis, said libraries were heading towards privatisation.

"Marrickville Library used to have nearly 20,000 Greek titles - now it has [fewer than] 5000," said Ms Ioannidis, whose position was made redundant.

"A library is not a supermarket and the people who use them are not customers."

But the general manager of the South Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, David Lewis, defended the changes.

He said councils were continuing to provide good libraries in the face of dramatically diminishing revenue by forming joint ventures to get a better deal from service providers.

"The quality of services in these libraries will improve because there will be more staff available for face to face and more funds available for new books," Mr Lewis said.

Shortcut to original article:

Click here

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Webinar on Living Libraries

WebJunction are hosting a Webinar on Living Libraries on July 22nd

If you don't think you'll be up at 3 am to join in live (!), keep an eye on the Webinar archives page to read all about it later.

The Living Library is a unique event that brings together people who have special interests, beliefs or experiences to speak with people from different backgrounds and share their personal story. In this innovative program participants can "check out" Living Books for a personal conversation. Both the Bainbridge Island and Santa Monica Public Libraries executed two successful Living Library events. The Bainbridge Island event covered such diverse experiences as life as a quadriplegic, a female police officer, a young gay man and an atheist. Santa Monica Public Library's Living Books included a fat activist, a formerly homeless person, an ex-gangmember and a nudist. Join us for a free webinar with leads from these projects: Rebecca Judd from the Bainbridge Island (WA) branch of the Kitsap Regional Library System, and Julie MacDonald and Rachel Foyt from the Santa Monica Public Library in Santa Monica (CA). Hear how they planned and implemented the project in their libraries, and find out how you can create a Living Library in your community.
When: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 2:00 PM

Click here for Webinar Archive

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Latest Living Library Information

Living Libraries Australia is proud to announce the national launch of a new resource for Living Library organisers, which also serves to promote Living Libraries to the general public. The web-movies can be viewed on the Living Library website from July 3, 2009 after noon, (or if any glitches shortly afterwards!) If you happen to be in the area, please drop in!

I will inform you as to the availability of the DVD soon, in the meantime, the website is the way to view it. I will send out the link when it is launched. You can also search for it on:
Link to video

Living Libraries in Action is a new DVD and web resource which will be used to increase community awareness about the power of Living Libraries to enhance inclusiveness, tolerance, and social harmony in Australian communities.
The films, consisting of seven mini-movies, capture the essence of the sort of conversations that are happening in Living Libraries across Australia and provide practical information for anyone interested in organising or participating in one.
The Living Libraries Australia Film Project, managed by Lismore City Council, is a creative collaboration between Living Libraries Australia and Lismore TAFE, Redland Libraries, Lismore’s Living Library, and Nimbin Aged Care and Respite Services. The film and production team is made up of students and staff from Lismore TAFE and Southern Cross University, and is supported by a community-based committee.
Living Libraries Australia is funded by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship through the Diverse Australia Program.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

***Information: UK Libraries Wi-Fi Survey Results 2009***

From UK Libraries:

We recently published the results of our market research on public Wi-Fi services in UK public libraries. This is the second time we have carried out research in this area and we've received feedback initially from over 70 percent of UK public library authorities with detailed responses from over 60 percent of these authorities.

The report shows that there has been an increase in the number of implementations of wireless for the public use since our last research in 2007. It is also encouraging to see that respondents with Wi-Fi say that the main benefits are that the service has raised the profile of their libraries, attracted new users or has enhanced the library service.

Bedfordshire Libraries implemented public wireless access for their users back in 2004 as part of the Libraries Go Wireless initiative; they were probably one of the first authorities to do this. Bedfordshire’s journey has been an interesting one from their initial implementation to where they are now. A short video is available examining Bedfordshire's experience.

The report, A Review and Evaluation of Wi-Fi services in United Kingdom Public Libraries 2009 and the Bedfordshire Libraries video can be downloaded from:


Monday, August 10, 2009

Fairfield Public Library and UWS Partnership

Fairfield City Library Service received a $36,000 cheque last week from the
University of Western Sydney (UWS), after a first year partnership
delivering yourtutor to the library’s younger audience.

UWS pro vice chancellor of engagement Barbara Holland presented the
cheque to Fairfield City mayor Nick Lalich at the Bonnyrigg branch library.
He said, ‘UWS's financial support is making it possible for even more
local students to have access to our free online tutoring service and we are
very grateful for their contribution.’

The $36,000 will go towards expanding capacity of Fairfield City’s yourtutor
program, and, depending on budgets, UWS hopes to support more
western Sydney councils in 2010.

Professor Holland explained, ‘Fairfield City and UWS are motivated to
work together to help build communities by helping young students discover
the love of learning and improve their performance in school. This program
makes free, high quality tutoring available to any student, and it increases
their understanding of the role libraries play in promoting lifelong learning.
The students tell us it makes a real difference in their confidence as well as
their school performance.’

Other universities partnering with public libraries in their regions to
deliver yourtutor are CQ University Australia; Queensland University of
Technology; Griffith University and Edith Cowan University.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Government backing for National Reading Day

The Australian Government is behind National Literacy and Numeracy
Week, which runs from 31 August to 6 September this year and includes
National Reading Day.
Schools are encouraged to participate in this featured event, as a follow
up to Children’s Book Week, from 22 to 28 August. National Reading Day
will take the Book Safari theme and turn it into Story Sharing Safari.
For more information,
Click here for more information

Thursday, August 6, 2009

News from Victorian Libraries

Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Libraries:
The Library – The Key to Growing the Knowledge and Skills of the Victorian Community

Click here for Ministerial paper

Local Government Victoria Homepage featuring Libraries:

Click here

Monday, August 3, 2009


A very useful shortcut is Alt + p which will bring up previous searches in the catalogue or borrowers. To repeat a cat search or retrace your steps, press F2 and then Alt + p. You will then have a list of the searches made today or on that sign on. If you are interrupted and so forget a name and are hunting through a name like Smith to find the correct one you need, F4 will take you to a borrower search and Alt + p will give you borrowers looked for today, thus saving you time. Have a try.

Telstra's 3R's

Telstra's 3 Rs of Social Media Engagement are Representation, Responsibility and Respect.
You can download a copy of their policy below:

Click here

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Comparative Information

The Comparative Information on NSW Local Government Councils for 2007/08 publication has just been released.

Click here

Friday, July 31, 2009

More ALIA information

The first summary of the ALIA Public Libraries Summit held last week can be found at Summit

The opening address by Senator Ursula Stephens, photos, reports and more information are being uploaded to the Summit website over the coming days and weeks


ALIA's presentation to the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network and the transcript from 20/7/09 should also be available soon at

Broadband presentation

I just happened to be flicking channels on Austar and saw this presentation by Jan Richards and Sue Hutley on the aPac channel. It was really interesting and I enjoyed watching Jan profile Public Libraries so well. She really is a wonderful national advocate for our Library Services.

ALIA's other useful advocacy links - Advocacy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

***Australian Public Libraries Summit Update****

The inaugural Australian Public Libraries Summit was held in Canberra on Thursday 16 July 2009 (10am to 4pm) at the National Library of Australia. The Summit was organised by ALIA (the Australian Libraries and Information Association). I represented PLM at the Summit.

Summary comments of the Summit are presented below. I will report fully on the Summit at the 31 July 2009 PLM Quarterly General Meeting.

The goals of the Summit:

* To develop a stronger relationship with the Federal Government in achieving its agendas in a range of portfolios. Ideally, the country's 1,522 public libraries will be regarded as 'national champions' advancing social, educational, cultural, broadband and digital programs and policies.
* To engage with all three levels of government to develop a framework that supports libraries across Australia to better deliver services to their communities especially in disadvantaged and remote areas advance COAG (Coalition of Australian Governments) and the Social Inclusion reform agendas.
* There were ~40 delegates at the Summit. Please refer to the PLM website PLM Websiteand "Submissions" page for PLM's Summit Submission, the Summit Program and Papers, and the Summit Delegates list.
* Senator Ursula Stephens (Federal Government) opened the Summit. Senator Stephens is the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and Parliamentary Secretary for the Voluntary Sector.
* Jan Fullerton, Director General of the National Library of Australia welcomed delegates, and in her opening remarks, commented directly to Senator Stephens that "the only public library in Australia directly funded by the Federal Govt is the National library....this must change".
O* ther than the Summit Opening presence of Senator Ursula Stephens, there was no presence of any current Federal Government or State/Territory Government politicians.
* Other delegates present at the Summit included Australia's State Librarians (eg Regina Sutton, CEO SLNSW), Australian Government Department representatives eg Policy Advisers, socially oriented groups eg Philanthropy Australia and Adult Learning Australia, and major vendors eg OCLC and NEC Australia (NEC is involved with the Australian Internet Kiosk project).

In the morning session, there was a series of presentations (please refer to the Summit Program).

In the afternoon session, there were small group workshops that focussed on "continued or new, nationally focussed public library sector initiatives/projects/programs associated with the themes of":

* Children, early reading and a literate Australia
* Encouraging the digital economy and digital citizenship
* Social inclusion and community partnerships – safety, fairness, participation
* Health and ageing.
* There was also a small group working on ideas for the National Framework for Australia's Public Library Sector.

The critical next step following the Summit is the development and implementation of the Strategic National Framework for Australia's Public Library Sector:

* A vision, goals and outcomes for the sector
* Key stakeholders and stakeholder engagement and management strategies, including strategies to engage all three levels of government, and with the state and territory public library sectors
* Major nationally focussed public library sector projects/initiatives/programs
* Identification and pursuit of sustainable funding sources for the sector
* Relevant timelines to develop and implement the Framework and for all projects/initiatives/programs
* The Framework's governance and review processes.

Robert McEntyre
Executive Director
Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan Association (PLM)