Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Applications Open for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's 2010 Access to Learning Award

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is currently accepting applications to its annual Access to Learning Award (ATLA), which recognizes the innovative efforts of public libraries and similar institutions outside the United States to connect people to information and opportunities through free access to computers and the Internet.

The award is given by Global Libraries, a special initiative of the foundation's Global Development Program. The recipient of the Access to Learning Award will receive US$1 million.

Computers and the Internet are powerful tools that provide opportunities for people to improve their social and economic well-being. Worldwide, just one person in six has access to the Internet. This means that more than five billion people miss out on chances to pursue education and employment, access government services, learn about valuable health information, conduct business online, and exchange information and ideas.

The Access to Learning Award encourages new, innovative ways to provide computer and Internet services to people without access, and promotes greater development of public access technology programs around the world.

The Access to Learning Award honors innovative organizations that are opening a world of online information to people in need. The foundation's Global Libraries initiative invites applications from libraries and similar organizations outside the United States that have created new ways to offer these key services:
Free public access to computers and the Internet.
Public training to assist users in accessing online information that can help improve their lives.
Technology training for library staff.
Outreach to underserved communities.
Please note:

Applications are open to institutions outside the United States that are working with disadvantaged communities. To be eligible, the applying institution must allow all members of the public to use computers and the Internet free of charge in a community space.

Applications for the 2010 Access to Learning Award must be submitted via an online submission process by October 31, 2009. The application form is available only in English and must be completed in English to be eligible for consideration.

However, while applications must be submitted in English, the foundation does offer informational brochures in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. You may find these and additional information on eligibility requirements and the process of selection at:

Gates Foundation Website

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

State Librarian's visit to Blue Mountains City Library

Deputy Mayor Cllr Janet Mays, Regina Sutton (NSW State Librarian),
Francis Sims (Public Library Network Consultant),
Cllr Terri Hamilton, Vicki Edmunds (Blue Mountains City Library Manager)

The plans for the new Katoomba Library left a big impression on the NSW State Librarian, Regina Sutton, during a recent visit to the Blue Mountains. Blue Mountains Libraries hosted the visit from the State Librarian and the Public Library Network Consultant, Francis Sims, which included a visit to Springwood, Lawson, Katoomba and Wentworth Falls Libraries.
The State Librarian also visited the site of the new Katoomba Library and Cultural Centre precinct. Councillor Terri Hamilton, Chairperson of the Katoomba Library Technical Advisory Panel said, “The State Librarian is very enthusiastic about the new Katoomba Library and Cultural Centre precinct. Having the new Katoomba Library and the City Gallery together in the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre complex, means that residents will be able to access the high standard of exhibitions, collections, displays and forums currently found in the State Library”, continued Cr Hamilton.
The new Katoomba library is to be a two-level, open plan design with twice the floor space of the existing library. The new library will share the pedestrian access and foyer with the planned Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.
“Indeed, the State Librarian was envious of the Blue Mountains having the opportunity to development a new library and cultural centre complex, recognising the benefits to the local and regional community”, stated Cr Hamilton.
Council is currently working with the developer of the Parke St site, Coles Group Property Development, to finalise the fit-out of the new, state of the art Katoomba Library.

BMCC Media Release

Monday, June 15, 2009

How are our users accessing the Library?

The following e-mail came via the RUSA (ALA) list. I thought there were some good questions for each of us to consider for our libraries.
Ellen (SLNSW)

Greetings! Are your patrons more likely to take a picture of a call number on a computer screen rather than write it down? Do you find that your users are accessing the library though mobile devices, prompting you to look for ways to assist them? Whether or not you answered yes to the above questions, we are interested in hearing your thoughts. In our effort to better anticipate our users needs, we have been investigating ways to provide library content and services in a mobile-friendly format.

Please consider answering this brief, anonymous survey (5-10 minutes). Your responses will be greatly appreciated! Please feel free to forward this survey on to interested colleagues as well.

Survey Here

Diane Hudson, Science and Health Sciences Librarian
Juliet Kerico, Science and Health Sciences Librarian
Beth Rasch, Library Instruction Specialist
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Lovejoy Library,
Campus Box 1063
Edwardsville, IL

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to find your elected representatives

Your Voice In House – finding your elected representatives

The Australian Centre for Democracy and Justice is making the task of finding your elected representatives very straightforward, launching a new campaign website called Your Voice in House. Now all you need to know is where you live.

The website allows you to enter your postcode or location and it will tell you every politician that represents you, in both houses of parliament, at both the state and federal level. The site provides postal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Plus you can select which politicians you want to contact and the site will allow you to send an email to everyone you have selected with just a couple of clicks of your mouse.

Check out the beta website at:
Your voice in your house

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Help for jobless

One hour early: look to your library program

King County Library in the US is opening 41 of its branches one hour early for a week to provide information about financial and job search tools. Across King County people are feeling the economic pinch: layoffs, reduced hours, decreased benefits and mounting bills. To help people cope and get back on their feet, KCLS is hosting how-to demonstrations of the latest job-search and financial tools.

King County Library Website

Libraries Help Drive Economic Recovery

Investments in libraries pay long-term dividends in having an economically stronger, more socially inclusive community

OTTAWA (May 15, 2009) Representatives from the Canadian Library Association (CLA) today announced the urgent need for further investment in public libraries in order to build and/or upgrade their infrastructure.

No matter what the current economic situation is, Canadians know that they can get information, services and assistance they need from their public library.

“In our current economic situation, public libraries have become increasingly popular places for Canadians to come in and enjoy the library’s free resources,” said Ken Roberts, CLA president. “Whether it is surfing online for fun, borrowing DVDs or brushing up on résumé skills, people are flocking to libraries in the thousands to take advantage of a place that is primarily free.”

Across Canada, most cities are reporting large increases in their services and programs, not to mention items being borrowed by the millions. For example, in Calgary alone in 2008, borrowing was up by 1.1 million for a total of 15.4 million – an increase of 7.7% from 2007. Calgary’s 17 branch libraries were the second busiest in the country after Toronto, and sixth busiest in North America.

Key 2008 Ottawa statistics include an increase in library visits by 12%, an increase in usage of library items by almost 23%, and increase in the number of visits to the library’s online resources such as the website and online reference questions by 14%.

“This increase in usage is primarily due to the fact that Canadians are realizing that they can borrow books, DVDs, CDs and video games,” added Roberts. “In addition, if for any reason patrons need to cancel a magazine subscription or their internet, they can always come into the public library and enjoy these things for free.”

Not only are public libraries beneficial for entertainment and leisure purposes, they also provide essential resources to help stimulate Canada’s national economy. Public libraries play an important role in assisting people with literacy skills, résumé creation, job location and application, and re-education opportunities.

Applying for jobs via paper applications and résumés is becoming less common. Employers now rely more on online job applications and résumés sent by e-mail. The public libraries can provide help for people unfamiliar with computers for this process.

“Many of Canada’s busiest public libraries are reporting that their job-hunting resources are the most sought after service,” commented Kelly Moore, CLA Executive Director. “As an example, at London’s public library website, the ‘searching for work’ link was used 75,485 times in 2008. It is the site’s most popular link.”

As the library’s services and resources continue to rise in demand, essential programs are in extreme danger of being cut, due to the lack of federal funding. In addition to needing more library employees to keep up with the quick-moving pace of library visitors, some public libraries are in need of the physical space and technological infrastructure upgrades.

CLA underscored the need for an expanded role for the federal government in supporting libraries, including:

Improved and expanded federal investment in broadband and ensuring access to broadband via libraries
Improved long-term funding for libraries through programs such as the Community Access Program (CAP) and infrastructure spending
Copyright legislation that controls costs for libraries and ensures availability of material for the public
“Further investment in public libraries is urgently needed, as they are key components of communities’ master plans,” added Moore. “With more investment, public libraries will be able to increase access to the physically disabled, become more energy-efficient, and incorporate the latest information and communications technology”.

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Online catalogues: what users and librarians want

In 2008, OCLC conducted focus groups, administered a pop-up survey on WorldCat.org OCLC's freely available end user interface on the Web—and conducted a web-based survey of librarians worldwide.

The Online Catalogues report presents findings from these research efforts in order to understand:

* The metadata elements that are most important to end users in determining if an item will meet his or her needs
* The enhancements end users would like to see made in online library catalogues to assist them in consistently identifying appropriate materials
* The enhancements librarians would recommend for online library catalogues to better assist them in their work

The findings indicate, among other things, that although library catalogues are often thought of as discovery tools, the catalogue's delivery-related information is just as important to end users.

Online Catalogues Full Report

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Little Book of Public Libraries

ALIA announces The little book of public libraries
ALIA is at the final design stage of producing a quick, simple summary of why public libraries are so important; giving library supporters the words and ideas they need to champion our cause. This isn't a throwaway leaflet - it's a lively little book that people will love to pick up and flick through. It's light on words (less than 1500 in total) and heavy on content - every line is a zinger.

The Little book of public libraries is based on the English version by the same name. You can check out the English version online at:
English Little Book of Public Libraries

Further information will be available via the ALIA homepage next week:

ALIA Website

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Public Library Ambassadors Program

ALIA names Australia's first public library ambassadors
ALIA is delighted to announce the appointment of the nation's first two Public Library Ambassadors: Barry Heard, the award-winning Australian author, and Bruce Miller, one of New South Wales' most active local government leaders.

The Public Library Ambassador program is in full swing with further resources to assist libraries to get their program underway. We encourage public libraries to continue to develop and confirm local ambassadors around the country.

ALIA Public Library Ambassadors can be grass-root members of the community or celebrity advocates who will use their talent or fame to promote the value of public libraries in their lives, especially attracting media attention. Similar in concept to UNESCO's goodwill ambassadors, an important difference is that ALIA Public Library Ambassadors come from a broad cross-section of the Australian community.

Amabassador Program information

Media release: ALIA names Australia's first public library ambassadors
Media Release

I am delighted to announce that Jean Nicholson has graciously accepted to be the Blue Mountains Public Library Ambassador. It was felt that Jean is one of the Library's biggest advocates. We will also be recuiting a "high profile" ambassador - watch this space!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ALIA Public Libraries Summit - new date confirmed!

The ALIA Public Libraries Summit will now be held 16 July 2009. We are delighted that Senator Ursula Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, and Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion, will open the Summit.

Submissions already received are now available on the Summit website. Check out the blog for more information.

ALIA summit blog