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December 2020

APLAnews is a free monthly bulletin for everyone who works to support and promote Australia's public library services. We'd love to hear news and comments from readers - contact details are at the end of this newsletter. Please feel free to pass APLAnews on to your colleagues. Permission is granted to re-broadcast, in part or in full, please acknowledge the source if you do so. 

ALIA news
State and territory news
Other news 
International news
Professional learning
Conferences, exhibitions and events dates
ALIA news

ALIA has launched the much-anticipated Professional Pathways – an ambitious initiative which aims to strengthen the profession, increase diversity, focus on contemporary skills and promote a future-ready workforce. You can read the consultation draft of the plan; a special message from our President Viv Barton, a presentation from ALIA’s Director of Learning, and messages of support from library leaders. We have also prepared a page that addresses many questions that we anticipate will arise out of this plan.

ALIA is calling for publishers to put forward titles for the upcoming ALIA-run 2021 Online Storytime pilot scheme. In order for this scheme to be successful there need to be at least 200 books available for public library services to choose from. Interested publishers, including libraries, can contact ALIA at for more information or to register their titles.  

ALIA has released the program for its virtual conference ALIA Information Online 2021. Register by 5 February 2021 so you don't miss out on this engaging conference. Applications are also open for the ALIA Information Online 2021 attendance grants. Anyone who has been an ALIA personal Member for at least 12 months and whose job or personal situation has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply. Applications can be made by emailing us at with the following details: why you would like to attend the conference and how attending will enhance your career development. Applications close 25 January 2021. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted their library to the ALIA-run Australian Library Design Awards 2021, we have an impressive 33 entries from across the nation. ALIA Members also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite library from the nominations, and voting closes 1 February 2021. For more information see the website. 

The timeframe for the Digital Health Literacy online free training has been extended until 31 March 2021. This nationwide initiative provides training to library staff on how users can navigate and understand the new Federal Government digital health initiatives, such as My Health Record and assists libraries to better support their communities, and engage with other likeminded organisations. Register your interest to undertake this free training by emailing

Nominations are open for the ALIA Board Election 2021. We are seeking nominations for the following positions: President, and two general Board members. All personal financial Members of the Association as of 29 January 2021 are eligible to nominate for the Board. The deadline for nominations is 29 January 2021. 

ALIA regularly updates its policies, standards and guidelines. The latest updated guideline is on the foundation knowledge for entry-level library and information professionals. You can read this, and other guidelines, on the ALIA website

ALIA President Viv Barton has set her presidential theme as Education, and in this issue, we will look at the relationship between libraries and education. We want to hear about how your libraries educate communities, helping people pursue lifelong learning, and guide them in identifying and managing misinformation and disinformation. The deadline for INCITE March/April submissions is 19 January 2021. 

Libraries are places where we explore possibilities as innovative spaces, remembering the past and imagining the future. So in 2021, Library and Information Week will be an opportunity for libraries to take ‘Adventures in Space and Time’, with National Simultaneous Storytime broadcast from the International Space Station. It will run from 17-23 of May, with the following themed days:
  • Monday: Careers Day
  • Tuesday: Library Technicians' Day
  • Wednesday: National Simultaneous Storytime
  • Thursday: Fundraising Day
  • Friday: Join ALIA Day
We have a limited number of space themed pins, stickers and bookmarks, and a very special Library Technicians' Day pin, so pre-order your LIW2021 merchandise now.

There are great free resources to help your library prepare for the disaster season on the ALIA website. Including the following resources:
As we approach the end of the year, now is the perfect time to purchase National Simultaneous Storytime 2021 merchandise. We have posters, promotional packs, Astronaut in training packs, bookmarks and stickers. Check out the website for more information. NSS2021 is supported by Scholastic Australia, the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Australian Space Agency. 

For Library Lovers’ Day 2021, ALIA is encouraging people to ‘make a date’ with their library to rediscover all the great things on offer. If people have fallen out of the habit of using their library service, it's time to tempt them back. Whether that be virtually or in person - with safe physical distancing measures where needed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 Australia Reads campaign. You can now read the campaign wrap-up. We hope to see you all again for the 2021 celebrations. 
Want more ALIA and industry news? Subscribe to ALIA Weekly.
State and territory news

Public libraries 

Library and Information professionals have the opportunity to provide their experiences and insights for an upcoming book on how museums, archives and libraries around the world measure and talk about their impact to funders (government, foundation, corporations, or individuals), as well as how their funding sources affect their strategies and programs. Interested parties can email the author Dr Kathryn K Matthew, Louisiana State University, at

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed elder abuse bookmarks and posters to increase community awareness of the signs of elder abuse and the National Elder Abuse phone line 1800ELDERHelp (1800 353 374). To order bookmarks, posters and bookmark stands for your library or mobile library service please email You can access the resources on the webpage


In the ACT, there were concerns over a suspicious package at Civic Library, which was ultimately resolved and the library was declared safe


In NSW, Bathurst Library is hosting author talks on Zoom;  the annual report from Central Northern Regional Library shows an increase in usage of online library services; a reading bike has been installed at Eagle Vale LibraryGeorges River Libraries is running its 100 Diaries Project; Goulburn Mulwaree Library is running summer reading clubs; Macquarie Regional Library is celebrating 50 years of service; MidCoast Council Libraries is running the Summer Reading Club; Oak Flats Library has reopened after a refurbishment; Parkes Shire Library hosted a book sale; Shoalhaven City Council is seeking community feedback to design its Sanctuary Point Library; Tamworth Council has chosen a construction company for its new Quirindi Library; Wagga Wagga City Library is running its annual Christmas Food Appeal; and Woolgoolga Library is celebrating 20 years of operation; Woollahra Libraries has launched its new app; and Wollongong City Libraries is accepting letters on Santa's behalf


Congratulations to Stephen Harris AALIA (CP)  for winning the Queensland Library Achiever of the Year Award 2020. Stephen is the Information Services Librarian at Bundaberg Regional Libraries and has worked on a number of projects this year to support the Bundaberg community.

In Queensland, Cairns Libraries has a busy December schedule; a book has been returned to CityLibraries Townsville after more than 30 years; the new Ipswich Central Library has opened; and you can give your feedback on the Mount Isa City Library masterplan.


In SA, Port Lincoln Library has received a donation of car related books.


After fourteen years as Chief Executive Officer of Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC), Patti Manolis OAM will be stepping down from the role at the end of March 2021. The GRLC Board will commence an Executive search for the new CEO of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation in the New Year.

City of Melbourne Libraries is seeking feedback for its new framework until 23 December;  help name the Christmas dragon at Echuca Library; Goldfields Library Corporation is running a series of summer reading programs; storytimes will resume at Port Fairy Library; the new Prahran Square Library has opened; help name the new Robinvale Community Library building; and& Richmond Library has a new mural.

Infrastructure Victoria released its Draft 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy in December 2020, which includes some solid recommendations that acknowledge the role of public libraries as critical social infrastructure. PLV was particularly pleased to see the following draft recommendation: Public libraries are also identified in the report as candidates for designated, accessible climate-adapted facilities to manage the health impacts of extreme heat and bushfire smoke. These recommendations are reiterated in the document, Infrastructure Priorities for the Regions: Key findings to inform Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy update (December 2020).

The Minister for Local Government the Hon Shaun Leane has announced $45.8 million in funding to support public libraries across Victoria to buy new books and collection items, run online services and deliver outreach programs. Victorian libraries also participated in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, you can learn more on the Public Libraries Victoria webpage. 


In WA, Fremantle Library's homeless support service has received huge support since its launch; and from 5 December 2020 WA public libraries will be required to maintain a contact register of patrons, staff, visitors and contractors for COVID-19 contact tracing, if required.


Earlier this year, Libraries Tasmania partnered with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) to gather local experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Stories Project was launched to recognise the importance of capturing and preserving this moment in history. Since then, the library have been encouraging its local community to submit photographs, stories, ephemera, poems and anecdotes to tell their story of COVID-19 – to create a collection that will help future generations understand the Tasmanian experience – and submissions are still welcome.  

It has been a challenging year for library volunteers around the country, with many libraries closed and programs suspended due to COVID-19. A positive outcome of this situation has been that volunteers have learnt new and innovative ways to stay connected. For example, Libraries Tasmania has seen a huge increase in online volunteers working on its projects using the Digivol platform. The number of Libraries Tasmania digital volunteers almost doubled in 2019/20. These volunteers help to transcribe and index information from Libraries Tasmania’s archive and heritage collections, which is then added to the Tasmanian Names Index.
The Tasmanian Names Index provides access to more than one million records about people who lived in Tasmania. Thanks to the transcription work carried out by our Digivol volunteers, the Names Index now includes records of 23,383 deeds of land grants to Tasmanian colonists between 1832 and 1935. For access to the Tasmanian Names Index visit Tasmanian Names Index (

Other news

OCLC Next has published the article, Stronger together: Libraries focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development GoalsOCLC is also seeking respondents to its survey on libraries and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The latest rounds of the Australia Council, Create NSW and WA Arts funding has been announced. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is seeking donations for its 2020 Festive Appeal.

In book awards news, the longlists for the Indie Book Awards 2021; the shortlists for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2020; the Reading Women’s 2020 Nonfiction Award; and the winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2020 were all announced. 

International news

Read the latest blog posts from IFLA, 10 suggestions to support library advocacy Libraries as consumers: potential for protection?and Think about how you can make meetings more engaging and inclusiveIFLA is also updating its Intellectual Freedom Statement and is seeking feedback via a survey. Meanwhile, Australia was mentioned several times in IFLA's article Libraries delivering SDG successes, even under COVID-19

In New Zealand, LIANZA has announced that its 2021 conference will be a hybrid event, and Queenstown Lakes Libraries has scrapped library fines.

In the US, a recent article from WIRED recommends that gamers visit their local libraries to peruse their collections; Amazon Publishing is in talks to offer eBooks to public librariesThe New York Times has published two articles on libraries 'Dreaming about the ideal library' and 'Library books: a small antidote to a life of perpetual dissatisfaction'. The Architect's Newspaper has highlighted several libraries as part of its design awards. The Georgia Public Library Service provide more than $562.1 million in social benefits according to a recent report; and The Atlantic has published an article about the trend towards scrapping library fines

An article published by Forbes argues that public libraries can help companies survive the pandemic, and one library lover writes about what she misses most from her local library during its pandemic induced closure. Public libraries have evolved to support their patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the UK, following the COVID-19 closure of Walsall's seven libraries a Council Member has questioned whether the community needs the service. According to a report published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy spending on the library service fell £20 million in 2019-2020, The British Government has released a statement in regards to its Public Lending Rights program,  and it looks like public libraries are set to endure more budget cuts

In Norway the final design for the Ibsen Library has been chosen; and read about how German librarians caught a book thief

Professional learning
ALIA Members are able to freely access a collection of LIS ebooks from EBL and can investigate the Public Library Specialisation of the ALIA PD Scheme that recognises the specific skills needed for the public library sector. Members can also sign up for the monthly PD Postings enewsletter.
Conferences, exhibitions and events dates
APLAnews is an initiative of the Australian Public Libraries Alliance. Can't get enough ALIA and industry news? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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The Australian Library and Information Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to lands, waters, cultures and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
APLAnews is an initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association's Australian Public Library Alliance. We want to know what you would like to see in this newsletter, and how you would like to see it.
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