February 04, 2020

Alternative funding & libraries…is it worth it? - 2019

Public libraries are a vital community asset – providing free access to information, facilitating the development of twenty-first century literacy skills, and supporting social connections and lifelong learning for all.


Approximately 80% of operating expenditure is funded by local councils. The remainder comes from state government funding. Growth in local contribution has outpaced state government, leaving some councils struggling to meet the funding requirements of their libraries.


With more people are using public libraries than ever before with increasing community demand for longer opening hours, flexible spaces, expanded programs, and access to online services, the purpose of this report is to identify the types of alternate funding Victorian public libraries are already engaging with and explore their potential challenges and opportunities

February 04, 2020

LibStep: A Library Staff Exchange Program - 2019

A library staff exchange program is an opportunity for participants to work at a different library service for a fixed period of time. This will enable participants to exchange skills, knowledge and best practice between the host workplace and their primary workplace.

The aims of our investigation into a library staff exchange program were to:

  • investigate how a professional development exchange program would be implemented across Victoria,

  • research existing staff exchange programs in Australia and internationally, as well as education sectors,

  • establish if library staff would be interested in participating in a staff exchange program and their motivations to do so,

  • create a series of key recommendations including guiding principles for the participant, the host workplace and the primary workplace.

February 04, 2020

Social Issues in Public Libraries: Supporting Our Staff - 2019

Public libraries are safe spaces, where everyone is welcome to seek information, entertainment, community engagement and shelter without the need for a transaction or invitation. ‘Everyone’ includes members of our communities experiencing social issues (such as homelessness, mental health problems and addiction), who sometimes require support beyond what library staff are able to safely provide within the bounds of their roles and professional skill sets.


This report looks at how Libraries can better support and empower public library staff in engaging with social issues. It provides insight into what is being done in public libraries in Victoria and beyond to better support staff in engaging with social issues in their communities. Offering case studies of public library programs, hiring practices and policy development, it aims to provide guidance for how library managers can better integrate current practices and create meaningful positive change in their organisations to benefit library staff and the public they serve.

February 04, 2020

Who Do We Think We Are: Understanding diversity in the Victorian public library workforce - 2019

By asking Victorian public library staff “who do we think we are?”, this project intended to capture and evaluate the current state of diversity and notions of belonging within the Victorian public library workforce. Of note, anecdotally, the common stereotype or perception of who works in a public library has been female-centric and Anglo-Australian which coincides with stereotypes from the US. The questionnaire was designed to assist in gauging the public library sector’s current staffing landscape and determine if perception matched reality. 

Markedly, the research will provide an audit of the landscape as it stands and will assist industry leaders and public library managers to make informed decisions around diversity and inclusion as part of their workforce development strategies. It will also demonstrate the ways in which diversity, inclusion and belonging contribute to a successful workforce as it is understood that “without inclusion there’s often a diversity backlash” (Rashid and Sherbin, 2017).

Share your stories with the world; Victorian Public Libraries and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 2017

Public libraries are highly regarded institutions and leaders in the community, with significant influence on local government. The purpose of this report is to support leaders in the Victorian library sector to leverage their relationship with local government; and policy makers to share their stories and contribute to federal reporting on the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


“Most local governments in Australia place a strong emphasis on sustainability, but few as yet make the direct connection between what they are doing at the local level and the Sustainable Development Goals. You can help your government be one of the first to make this leap.” - Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)


In September 2015, Member States of the United Nations (UN) adopted,Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda is an inclusive, integrated framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning economic, environmental and social development. By fulfilling this agenda, “no one will be left behind.”

Keeping a lookout: providing a platform for creative outreach ideas. 2017

Keeping a Lookout is an investigation into innovative library outreach practices, supporting socially isolated members of our community. This includes people with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness or living in remote locations, and institutionalised or marginalised groups.


Research shows that social connectedness improves mental, physical and emotional wellbeing and brain health. People who feel connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Social isolation is associated with diminished physical and psychological health and a higher likelihood of continued antisocial behaviour. 

Social connection is an underpinning theme of the Victorian Public Libraries 2030 document, which proposes two future scenarios. In the Community Library scenario, the library is portrayed as a learning village, promoting dynamic and lifelong learning and social connection. 


A project team from the Shared Leadership Program developed a wonderful piece of research that can be found at https://keepingalookout.wixsite.com/keepingalookout/research 

Augmented reality / Virtual Reality 2030. 2017

What impact can augmented reality (AR) and/or virtual reality (VR) technologies have on your library and community now and into the future? This report investigates the impact of these technologies in a range of Victorian public libraries and offers observations on future trends and potentialities. The report has been developed in line with the Victorian Public Libraries 2030 Strategic Framework (VPL 2030)   

VR has been around since the 1950s, however you can’t go online these days without hearing about the latest developments in the technology. There has been massive investment in AR and VR over the last year or two from some major companies and many other smaller players.  

Some of the hype is around the technology being the next big thing since the introduction of the smartphone. What isn’t clear, however, is the practical application of the technology beyond gaming or flight simulation. Even more unclear is how the technology may be implemented effectively in public libraries. 

Building Learning Communities, Articulating the role of public libraries: Telling Our Story. 2017

Leadership in the development of ‘communities of lifelong learning’ is an important strategic role for public libraries within the context of local and state government.
Much of this work is achieved through partnerships and collaborative models with internal and external stakeholders. As traditional offerings plateau and decline, public libraries are seeking creative, collaborative approaches to anticipate and meet the shifting needs of their communities within an increasingly dynamic knowledge-based economy.

This document engages with the role of public libraries in building learning communities, and how we articulate that role to maximise opportunities and stakeholder support. 

Re-imagining information services. 2015

By Julia Hogarth, Danielle Johanesen, Tilly Junker, Pamela McGowan, Bec Muir

Public libraries play a significant role in their communities. They are the local source of information, connection, and recreation. They contribute to community development, diversity, enrichment, economic development, personal well-being and learning. In order to ensure libraries continue to offer the best information services to their community, it is necessary to reflect upon current practices and identify areas that require change.

Libraries: putting the “Go!” in eGov. 2015

Project Team: Annie Bourne, Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries Brad Cooper, Greater Dandenong Libraries Sarah Field, Hume Libraries Susie Prestney, Goldfields Library Corporation Carmen Quick, State Library Victoria


The Australian Government has committed to providing online services for all high volume federal services by 2017. It is intended that by 2020, 80% of Australian Government service interactions will be performed through a digital channel. While these changes are expected to create an easier and more efficient service in the long term, a competent level of digital literacy is required to navigate the new systems. Libraries have already experienced increased demand for eGovernment assistance and this is likely to intensify in the lead up to 2017. The aim of our project is to advocate for libraries as community hubs that can support the public with their eGovernment journey. In anticipation of the 2017 rollout, our project team has created the eGov Ready Library Toolkit, which public library services can use to assess their preparedness for dealing with patron demand around eGovernment discovery and interaction. We strongly recommend that all Victorian public library services use this toolkit as the first step in readying themselves for eGovernment.

Brain health. 2015

Project Team: Maureen Bourke Maribyrnong Library Service, Kylie Carlson Yarra Plenty Regional Library Corporation, Jayne Cleave State Library Victoria, Leanda Elliott Wimmera Regional Library Corporation, Anna Gebhardt West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation


Brain health is a fairly new phrase; according to Google Trends, “brain health” as a search term was relatively unused in Australia as late as 2006. Despite this, it has been an area of concern for governments of all levels for many years with local governments incorporating it into their health and wellbeing plans, and federal government discussion papers being published as early as the late nineties. The upward trend of interest in brain health is very likely to continue, with populations around the world living longer and spending many more years living independently after they finish their working lives. Brain health offers a new opportunity for public libraries in a time of great transition. This transition of the role of the library is well illustrated by statistics from NSLA, who reported that while loans are decreasing, customer visits have increased annually since 2010, and there is greater demand for specialised services and internet access (NSLA 2015). Victorian Public Libraries 2030: Strategic Framework defines brain health as a social need for lifelong mental engagement, stimulation and care, and is of fundamental relevance to the Creative Library and Community Library scenarios outlined in the document. Brain health intersects these two scenarios.

Creating Libraries: Fostering Communities. 2015

A Showcase of Victorian Public Libraries team consisted of: Jess Broom, Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, Kim Edgar, Geelong Regional Library Corporation, Koula Kalaitzoglou, City of Greater Dandenong, Micah Macri, Eastern Regional Library Service, Sarah Mason, State Library Victoria


Library buildings across Victoria come in all shapes and sizes and have been part of our community landscape for over 50 years. During that time library services have revitalised and rebuilt their library branches, and for many they have had the opportunity to build new buildings for their growing and emerging communities. Fortunately through good strategic planning and the provision of funding via a variety of sources including the Living Libraries Funding Program, there has been a wonderful injection of new library buildings in recent times. Many more are on the drawing card which is exciting for library services who need to expand and improve their service provision. This project reinforces the value of libraries and how their design and presence in their communities can be catalysts for lifelong learning, social inclusion and the creation of community hubs. This project will provide a launching pad for a central source of information about library buildings and design. It will be useful for library services embarking on a new project, as well as providing a platform to showcase their fabulous new buildings. It will include many essential things to remember and to consider and a great place to share reflections on the process as well as factual information.

Creative spaces in public libraries: a toolkit. 2014

How to persuade your library to develop a creative space, plan and implement the right kind of space and inspire your community to use it. Project Team: Emily Boyle, Michelle Collins, Robyn Kinsey, Clare Noonan, Andrew Pocock

The establishment of creative spaces (any place where the community can come together for informal and shared social learning) in public libraries has been an emerging trend worldwide in recent years. As this picks up speed in the Australian library sector, it is timely to examine what this means for libraries and their communities, and how such spaces can be successfully established. This publication is broken into three distinct sections. It:

  • identifies what a creative space is, why they’re relevant to libraries and the benefits they can bring to libraries and their communities

  • provides guidance and best practice recommendations to assist libraries to plan, implement, evaluate and maintain a creative space

  • offers practical and inspirational resources on creative spaces in Australia and worldwide, including a brief history of making spaces, case studies and further reading

Libraries and CALD Community Organizations 2014

Supporting Report prepared by the project team: Anna Burkey, Kate Gilbert, Emma Reilly, Mojgan Sadighi, Emma Zeng

Cultural and linguistic diversity is viewed as one of Victoria’s greatest strengths. According to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), Victoria is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world. Purposefully engaging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities (including new and emerging communities) creates many exciting opportunities and valuable challenges for Libraries in providing facilities, programs and services that successfully meet the needs of all Victorians. The Toolkit for Collaboration has been developed by a cross-disciplinary team to highlight and synthesise best practice for engaging CALD communities.

Performance Metrics towards 2030. 2014

Investigating news to measure and report on our activities

Project team: Jenny Detez, Sherrill Harvey, Eda Irfan, Aidan Murphy, Mara Savic


This report provides an overview of the prominent social trends that are reshaping public library services and the range of new measurement tools and strategies that are being deployed nationally and internationally to meet the challenge of keeping library reporting relevant and meaningful and ensuring the value of public libraries is convincingly expressed to stakeholders. It concludes with the recommendation of the establishment of a statewide working group tasked with the further investigation of the available measurement tools, with particular attention to the potential of The Edge Initiative’s toolkit recently developed in the United States, with a view to implementing a comprehensive, standardised and value-focused measurement framework across Victoria’s public library services in the near future.

Popup Libraries. 2014

Project members: Asha Davis, Mildura Rural City Council Library Service Celia Rice, Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation Deanne Spagnolo, Brimbank Libraries Josephine Struck, Moreland City Libraries Suzie Bull, Mornington Peninsula Libraries


Mini-libraries are popping up in unusual places across Victoria, from country train platforms to cargo bikes around the city. How are we bringing our collections and services to the community through Pop-Up libraries? Explore what has been done nationally and internationally, in the physical and digital space, and what works.

The National Broadband Network and Public Libraries. 2012

The necessity of future proofing our services as high speed broadband changes our society. Project team: Kat Cain- Geelong Regional Library Corporation, Christina Davidson- Whitehorse-Manningham Libraries, Barbara Johnson- Moreland City Libraries, Ned Railic- Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, Radmila Sekulic- Glen Eira Libraries


This report investigates the potential of the NBN for public libraries and the prospective risks if libraries fail to capitalise on this opportunity. Public library managers must be aware that the NBN rollout is more than just an infrastructure change. It will revolutionise online applications and services, with resultant changes in user expectation and staff skill sets. Moreover, in review of NBN literature relevant to libraries, a number of key themes emerge: digital literacy; digital inclusion; information access; and the building of cultural and social capital.

The Victorian Children's Library. 2012

Project Team Members: Christine Denis (Brimbank Libraries), Ros Tiberi (Greater Dandenong Libraries), Rose Ricchiuti (Darebin Libraries) and Yasmin Cole (Central Highlands Libraries)


The following business case outlines the needs and benefits of establishing a dedicated Children’s Library within Victoria which focuses on innovative spaces and programs specifically designed for 0-11 year olds. Best practice in the delivery of early year’s services in International Children’s Libraries has been explored to provide recommendations on raising Victorian Libraries to International standards and enhance existing services. An examination of current Victorian public library facilities and programs highlights the potential to dramatically extend services to the 0-11 year old age group. The recommendation of this business case is for a dedicated Children's Library to be established as a part of the State Library of Victoria, with a retrofit of branded children’s spaces in Victorian public libraries.

Libraries mean business. 2012

Project team : Athina Mavromataki  Monash Public Library Service, Deb Skinner Latrobe City Libraries, Leah Walker High Country Library Corporation, Lynn Seymour West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation, Rita Hardy Moonee Valley City Libraries


Governments at local, state and federal levels are focused on strengthening communities through the provision of increased education and training opportunities, workforce development and local economic growth. Public libraries’ tangential contributions to the economic health of their communities, and the excellent return on investment for ratepayers and taxpayers alike, have been well documented. In recent times sustained economic stresses have had a major impact on many communities, particularly small business. Victorian public libraries’ contribution to economic health is well documented. This framework aims to help libraries increase that contribution through direct participation in local economic development. That participation should take the form of active support of small business and local government. A comprehensive list of recommendations and successful case studies is provided.

Tomorrow's green library. 2012

Project team: Andrew Logan, Emily Braithwaite, Lisa Binks, Lisa Hogarth & Stephanie Wilson


Tomorrow’s Green Library aims to provide recommendations that can be used by Victorian public library services and associated organisations when considering building or refurbishing library buildings. It is hoped these recommendations may inspire current and future library management to incorporate sustainable initiatives into their library services

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