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 www.myinfoquest.info.Alliance 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