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 caf├ęs 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.’