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 Commission̢۪s 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