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)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Changes in New Zealand

***Recent Information from a Library Manager in the north Auckland area - NZ***

"In Auckland we are looking at an amalgamated city starting on the 1st November 2010. The city will have 1.4 million residents (one third of the NZ population) and at 60 sites will have one of the largest public library systems in the world as far as I can tell.

The amalgamation is going to be extraordinarily complex and the new city represents an organisation with $27 billion in assets. NZ's largest company is Fonterra (the NZ global dairy company) with $14 billion in assets, so this is going to be something the country has not seen before.

There will be also a Lord Mayor type appointment with executive powers to appoint staff."

My note: Australia's largest Local Government Area is Brisbane City Council with a population of around 1 million. Both SSROC and WSROC in Sydney each cover populations of over 1.5 million Sydney residents.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ever wondered???

Ever wondered how ALIA sets its direction? Ever wish you had a say in it?

ALIA is your Association and you do have a say by attending ALIA's National Advisory Congress.

All financial personal and institutional ALIA members are invited to attend Your Voice: the ALIA National Advisory Congress at a location near you. This informal meeting will provide an opportunity for members to participate in discussion with an ALIA representative on the 2009 NAC focus Lobbying and
Advocacy: working together to make a difference.

For more information, including the ALIA Planning paper, position papers (more will be uploaded over the coming weeks) and NAC dates visit

ALIA governance

Monday, July 27, 2009

***Productivity Commission recommends repeal of the Parallel Importation Restrictions for books***

The Productivity Commission report, released on 14 July, recommends that the Government should repeal the Parallel Importation Restrictions (PIRs) for books.

Whereas the Commission's draft report had proposed a partial liberalisation of the import restrictions, the final report recommends their repeal, and that:

Three years notice should be given to facilitate industry adjustment.
Current financial assistance for encouraging Australian writing and publishing should be reviewed immediately, and any changes implemented prior to the repeal of the PIRs. The new arrangements should be reviewed after five years.
To assist in monitoring the impact of these changes, the ABS should undertake a revised version of its 2003-04 industry survey as soon as possible and update it prior to the five year review.

Australia's restrictions on the parallel importation of books result in higher local book prices, according to this report. While this is a cost to consumers, the benefits to publishers and authors are not well-targeted.

The Commission undertook extensive analysis of international book prices and concluded that the current restrictions create material upward pressure on book prices in Australia.

By removing the restrictions, local booksellers and libraries would have the option of accessing better value books from overseas. Local publishers would have a strong incentive to make their prices more competitive and to look for greater efficiencies in their operations.

The Commission found that the support to Australian authors provided by the restrictions is poorly targeted. 'One of the Commission's concerns is that consumers pay higher prices for books, regardless of their cultural significance' the Commission's Deputy Chairman, Mike Woods, said. 'A second concern is that these costs to consumers generate greater benefits for overseas authors and publishers than they do for our local writers. In effect, Australian consumers are subsidising foreign book producers.'
The report reflects more detailed analysis by the Commission about the costs of the PIRs. While still acknowledging the substantial cultural benefits of the restrictions, the Commission has decided they have significantly greater costs.

In particular, the Commission found that the bulk of the benefit of the PIRs was going to foreign authors. The Commissions draft report had found that the benefits of the PIRs were about equally shared between Australian and foreign authors and publishers, but further analysis revealed that foreign companies and authors get approximately 50% more benefit from PIRs than Australians, amounting to a substantial leakage directly from Australian consumers overseas.

ALIA made a joint submission (with the Australian Digital Alliance and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee) arguing for the removal of these restrictions. It is available at:

ALIA submission

Monday, July 13, 2009

***From the NSW Budget 2009-10***

Total expenses (for State Library of New South Wales) for 2009-10 are estimated at $82 million. This includes a continuing direct contribution of $23.5 million for public library grants and subsidies (same as for 2008-09).

In the Word Document (link below) - SLNSW information starts on page 99.

Budget Paper

Friday, July 10, 2009

***Today Show USA: Libraries lend a hand in tough times***

Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan Association Snapshot

Friday 10 July 2009


Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan Association: June 2009 Survey of 2009 Library Patronage and 2010 Library Budgets

On 6 June 2009 I circulated a short survey re the patronage of PLM Member's Public Libraries during the 2008/09 financial year and PLM Member's Library Budgets for 2009/10.

Below is a SNAPSHOT of the findings from the responses received:
18 of a possible 42 PLM Member's Libraries responded to the survey. The 18 LGAs represent a total LGA population of 2.2m people: 48% of the greater Sydney region's population (4.5m), 32% of the NSW population (6.9m) and 10% of Australia's population (21.6m).
6 of the 18 represent LGAs with populations greater than 150,000
5 of the 18 represent LGAs with populations between 100,000 and 150,000
5 of the 18 represent LGAs with populations between 50,000 and 100,000
2 of the 18 represent LGAs with populations under 50,000
2008/09 Library Patronage:
General increases in visitor numbers from very small (1% to 4%) to very large (over 20%) when compared with the previous year (2007/08)
Where increases have occurred, these have been across the board for sectors of the community eg job seekers, new migrants, and children and youth, and for a range of library programs eg baby rhyme time, children's story time, book groups, cultural and community programs, and homework/HSC help programs
One library (over 150,000 LGA population) reported a 46% increase in book groups
One library (over 150,000 LGA population) reported a 10%+ increase in loans and specifically in junior fiction
One library (50,000-100,000 LGA population range) reported a 20% increase in loans, 50% increase in PC bookings and a 24% increase in visits
PC/internet usage has witnessed a very large increase in some libraries:
One library (100,000-150,000 LGA population range) reported a 124% increase in internet usage
One library (50,000-100,000 LGA population range) commented that "Internet usage is at an all time high"
2009/10 Library Budgets:
Some marginal increases but generally stable and/or reductions
Increases in budgets are generally associated with Staff CPI Wage increases and not necessarily for library resources (eg book votes and programs) - few libraries with increases in resources budgets
Where a reduction in book vote and other resources is occurring: in some cases, up to and over 10%
With budget reductions, there are some reviews of opening hours (ie with possible reductions) occurring
Some reductions reported in Capital Budgets
Cameron Morley (State Library of NSW) very recently provided a snapshot of 2007/08 NSW Public Library utilisation:
Visits 36.4m - up 4.3% over the previous year and 17.5% over the past 5 years
Loans 48.8m - up 0.2% over the previous year and 6.1% over the past 5 years
Internet hours used in libraries 3.9m - up 41% over the previous year and 59.5% over the past 5 years.
From across the Tasman, the following late June 2009 email from the Chair of the Public Libraries Special Interest Group of LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand) - NZ has a population of 4.1m, with two-thirds living on the North Island, and Auckland with 1.4m people or 31% of the total NZ population - Auckland is marginally smaller than each of the WSROC and SSROC LGA populations:
"We are nearing the time of adoption of our LTCCPs around the country, so nearly there. At our recent North Island Library Managers meeting there was talk of some councils cutting budgets - not building libraries previously planned for and/or cutting materials budgets. It seems most councils have had to 'belt tighten' but until final adoption not positive how many are affected.
Of course our colleagues in the Auckland region are already planning to further the public library collaboration in view of the "super city" amalgamations. I have no doubt that other urban centres will follow suit - scooping up some of those smaller district councils. These are indeed interesting times."

Many thanks indeed for your input and assistance - very much appreciated.

I will be providing a further, more detailed review of the survey responses at the PLM Quarterly General Meeting on Friday 31 July 2009 (10am to 1pm) that will be held in the Mosman Council Chambers. Details to follow re this meeting and location/parking/transport.

Best 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:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Local government sets national agenda

By Angela Dorizas (23 June 2009)

Councillors and mayors from across Australia have gathered in Canberra to set a new national agenda for local government.

The National General Assembly (NGA) of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) attracted around 700 delegates ready to vote on more than 140 motions on issues surrounding climate change, infrastructure and finance.

ALGA president Geoff Lake said local government faced a number of unprecedented challenges.

“Never before have there been more issues at stake for local government at the national level,” Cr Lake told conference delegates.

“And never before has there been more of a need for us to come together – from across the breadth of Australia – to debate and shape a national agenda for our sector.

“How we navigate these waters over the next few years, will determine whether we are a strengthened sector in the future, or one hamstrung by responsibilities beyond our capacity and finances well short of our needs.”

Cr Lake said the NGA was “not a mere talkfest”, but an opportunity for delegates representing 565 councils to discuss and debate the role local government should play in building “sustainable and resilient communities”.

He said local government was preparing to lobby on three key policy areas: infrastructure, climate change and financing.

“How we interface with the Federal Government will determine what role we can play in shaping these issues,” Cr Lake said.

“We can sit back and watch how these things play out or we can be right in there – in the thick of it – and influence how things happen.”

No news on federal front

Federal representatives present at the NGA failed to deliver any new announcements on the first day of proceedings.

The Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, addressed the congress on infrastructure and financing, but did not deliver any new funding commitments.

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Greg Combet, was scheduled to speak, but was held up at Parliament House in a debate over the OzCar affair.

His colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Children's Services and Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction, Bill Shorten, spoke on his behalf.

Shorten warned that a delay in the passing of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), currently being debated in the Senate, would negatively impact on the economy and environment.

“The potential delay in the CPRS is no small matter,” Shorten said.

“A problem delayed is not a problem solved.”

He said local government would continue to play a “crucial part” in responding to climate change, particularly in the areas of planning and infrastructure.

A number of climate change experts addressed the NGA, including: ANU Climate Change Institute executive director, Professor Will Steffen; Deacons Law Firm partner Elisa DeWit; Gold Coast City Council’s project manager of climate change strategy, Rebecca Durdev; and representatives from the Department of Climate Change, Gold Coast City Council and Clarence City Council.

The road to reform

Although excluded from the NGA theme, constitutional recognition of local government was also on the agenda, with Cr Lake providing an update on progress made.

Law experts Professor George Williams and Nicola McGarrity, from the University of NSW Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law, presented their technical paper on constitutional reform and former Senator Robert Ray from CPR Communications outlined ALGA’s proposed two-year strategic campaign plan.

In terms of a timeline for reform, Ray said April to November 2012 would be the ideal time to put constitutional recognition of local government to the Australian people in a referendum.

The national general assembly continues until Wednesday, with Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, scheduled to deliver an address today.

The NGA will be followed by a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) at Parliament House on Thursday.

Movement of IFLA conference

It is with regret we advise you of the decision of the IFLA Governing Board to relocate the 2010 World Library and Information Congress, previously planned for Brisbane next year.

The world economic crisis has been a key contributing factor to this decision. The National Committee here in Australia has, in agreement with IFLA, determined the downturn could have a significant impact on the Congress. With the greater number of attendees traditionally being drawn from Europe and North America, we must recognise the contraction in the world economy will inevitably mean many of our colleagues will be, as we all are, reassessing plans and investments to move forward in these difficult economic times. The IFLA Governing Board and the National Committee believe relocating the Congress is necessary to ensuring the long-term business continuity of our international federation and its ability to continue its very important work on behalf of all libraries and library associations around the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work done so far, by the National Committee and host city representatives, and the generous support pledged to date by our colleagues in the sector. This enthusiasm and support makes it doubly difficult to have to advise that the Congress will be relocated. In particular, the excellent satellite events currently in the planning are clearly going to be amazing and productive gatherings. ALIA will be working with the satellite program planning committees to discuss with them the possibility of presenting some of these events in Australia over the next twelve months. Watch the ALIA website and e-lists for news on that front.

I hope you will be able still to attend IFLA2010 and support our international colleagues. There will be updates to the IFLA website shortly regarding the new location for the Congress.

For all enquiries concerning this message, please contact ALIA President Jan Richards or ALIA Executive Director Sue Hutley

Jan Richards
ALIA President

Keith Webster
Chair, Australian National Committee for IFLA2010

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Internet problems in Queensland....

Hardcore library porn may spark Big Brother ban
Christine Kellett
July 6, 2009

A Sunshine Coast council may consider a Big Brother-style monitoring system for internet users at public libraries after an elderly man was spotted watching hardcore pornography on a library computer.

Buderim mother Alison Sheldon complained to Sunshine Coast Regional Council after witnessing the incident at Maroochydoore library last month, but said she was "fobbed off" by senior council staff who told her internet filtering was not possible.

But Councillor Anna Grosskreutz said the excuse was rubbish and the council would now look at a number of policy options to stop the "grubby'' practice.

She said the Council could consider a swipe card system for computer users to track exactly what they were downloading at ratepayers' expense.

"You absolutely can develop a software around it if you want to," Cr Grosskreutz told ABC Radio.

"In fact, Councillors and Council staff are prohibited from a number of sites within our own computer system, so why wouldn't the same sort of policy be applied to the library?"

Cr Grosskreutz said she was "shocked" by Ms Sheldon's complaint, which involved young children possibly being exposed to the offensive material, and would meet the former librarian today to discuss her complaint further.

"It is grubby behaviour," she said.

"These are places for families to go to.

"If you've got a small percentage who are going to ruin it for everybody, let's get a policy in place [and] let's get rid of them. They can pay $30 a month or whatever it is for another (internet) provider and do what they like in their own home."

In March, Brisbane public library assistant David Harold Wegert, 55, was sentenced to two years' probation after using a library computer to scour the internet for child pornography.

In December, a man was sentenced to two years' jail for possessing child abuse material he obtained from Maroochydore library computers.


View full article here

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

IMLS launches “Libraries to the Rescue” podcast series

Institute of Museum and Library Services , 24 June 2009,USA

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums, today announced the launch of the Libraries to the Rescue series of podcast episodes.

Library use is on a steady rise and the economic downturn has resulted in even greater need for library services. IMLS introduced Libraries to the Rescue to share with libraries steps that other libraries have taken to help their communities.

“Libraries have emerged as one of the go-to place for people looking for work or filing for unemployment, starting new businesses, or learning how to use computers for the first time,” said Anne-Imelda Radice, IMLS Director. “Libraries are proving just how important they are to their communities. In these episodes, library leaders share their expertise so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Libraries to the Rescue provides valuable insights from:

Mary Boone, State Librarian of North Carolina
Bernard Margolis, State Librarian of New York
Sheryl Mase, Library of Michigan's Director of Statewide Services
Jan Walsh, State Librarian of Washington, and Randall Simmons, Program Manager for Library Development in Washington
Kendall Wiggin, State Librarian of Connecticut.

The five episodes cover a range of topics, including how libraries are increasing access to key information through virtual libraries, the importance of broadband access, and new partnerships between libraries and state and federal agencies to help citizens access all types of assistance. The Libraries to the Rescue episodes are short (12-15 minute), digestible audio episodes designed to educate IMLS’s library audience.

Libraries to the Rescue can be accessed and enjoyed at the listener’s convenience. Audio can be accessed on the IMLS Web site or through iTunes.

IMLS Web site

Friday, July 3, 2009

Library Cat Blog

Those of you who know me will know that I was thrilled to find this blog:

The Adventures of Tober

Here is Tober's first entry on the blog:

Hello! My name is Tober, and I am Thorntown Public Library's newest employee! I am a 2-year-old orange tiger-kitty, and I'm just getting to know my new home. I was rescued by my boss, Karen Niemeyer, who thought that I would be a perfect fit for library work. I live in a staff office in the adult department, where I am learning my new job as PR Director.

This is only my second day at work. I was a bit intimidated on my first day; I spent most of it hiding under a colleague's desk, wondering if I could handle the job. However, I made good use of my evening off, inspecting the facilities, the sleeping arrangements, and the cafeteria, and I've decided that this will be a wonderful place to work!

This morning they took me to the doctor. We could've skipped that (I tried to tell them, but no one wanted to listen), but the people at the Thorntown Veterinary Clinic were very nice. They complimented my looks (nice AND smart!), petted me, and told me I was a good kitty. I came home to my adoring colleagues, and have spent much of the day trying out new chairs and watching our customers come and go.

That's all I have to say for now. I have to get busy working on my job description!

Go and enjoy Tober's adventures - they are entertaining.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Update on the Public Libraries Summit

Public Libraries Summit

Scheduled for 16 July 2009 in Canberra.
Some additional papers have been received since the last update.
Click here

Work is also continuing on the Public Library Ambassador program.
Click hereT

wo more Ambassadors have been appointed including one from Western Australia. Official announcement to be made soon on who they are.

Names of attendees are firming up for the Summit including representatives from the Social Inclusion Board and the National Compact Joint Taskforce.

National Advisory Congress

National Advisory Congress program theme for 2009 is Lobbying and Advocacy which is the result of the 2008 member survey.
See link for the survey report
Click here

Also check out Geek the Library, a campaign from the United States -

Geek the Library

It’s well worth a look.