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May 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
Campaigns, events and programming ideas
Professional learning
Conferences, exhibitions and events dates

With most state and territory governments having announced the reopening of libraries, now is the time to prepare to participate in ALIA’s campaign, ‘We’re back! Tell us how you missed us.’ We have prepared a campaign toolkit, with a range of downloadable resources to use in promoting this campaign in your libraries, as they reopen, and through your online communications. Central to the campaign is a survey for public libraries to invite their community to tell us how they missed us. ALIA will provide survey results by postcode, which public libraries can utilise for their own reporting and advocacy purposes. Please share this survey amongst your members, so that we can gather perspectives from public library patrons across Australia. ALIA has also created a survey for public library service managers to complete, so that we can create a full picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ALIA, with input from the ALIA Australian Public Library Alliance has created an interim report summarising feedback from more than 200 libraries, as well as a strategic checklist to support libraries in their reopening process. 

Public library staff can access several webpages which ALIA has created to support library professionals and related industries during the pandemic.These webpages include ALIA Connects, an online space for Australian libraries to share their strategies in responding to the pandemic, and a webpage for online author events which provides a listing of writers and illustrators who are looking to connect with libraries to create online events and programs. 
ALIA news

This week is Library and Information Week. Encourage your users to engage with your library's online resources and show off what they have created and/or learned on social media using #LIW2020. The week also includes National Simultaneous Storytime on 27 May as a virtual event. You can also read the May/June issue of INCITE, the theme for this issue is Create. 

The ALIA Information Online 2021 conference program is being opened up as a collaborative, public decision-making process where speakers and topics are chosen by the audience. Tell us who inspires, motivates and challenges you and who you want to hear from. Share your ideas via the survey or email them to

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australia Reads main event, the Australian Reading Hour, has been rescheduled to 12 November. Additionally, the campaign has been granted $100,000 from the Australian Government, following an application by ALIA for increased funding ($50,000 in 2019). The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts said the Government is pleased to support this initiative, which promotes the value and importance of books. ALIA is pleased to be a founder organiser of this initiative, you can learn more on the website

ALIA is seeking applications for both mentors and mentees for its Mentoring Scheme. Apply today to learn from industry leaders as a mentee, and provide guidance as a mentor. Applications close 26 June 2020, for more information see the website. 

ALIA is seeking nominations for several awards, including its HCL Anderson Award, the Metcalfe Award and the Redmond Barry Award. Nominations for these awards close on 30 June 2020. For more information see the website today. 

Want more ALIA and industry news? Subscribe to ALIA Weekly.
State and territory news

Public libraries recognised in the news

News articles from across the nation have recognised the innovative work of public libraries including this article featuring Libraries Tasmania

As well as these NSW libraries, Bathurst LibraryBexley North Library, Blue Mountains LibraryCity of Ryde Libraries, Georges River Council Library, Grenfell LibraryLithgow LibraryMudgee LibraryParkes Library, Tamworth Library, and Wellington Macquarie Regional Library.

These Queensland libraries have been featured in several articles Bundaberg Regional LibrariesCairns Libraries, and Mount Isa City Council

South Australian libraries have been praised in two articles Mount Gambier Library and Yankalilla Library.

As well as these Victorian libraries Ararat Regional Library, Ballarat LibrariesCity of Melbourne LibrariesCity of Melton Libraries, Gannawarra Library Service, Geelong Regional Library CorporationKangaroo Flat LibraryLatrobe City LibrariesMildura Rural City Council Libraries, and Mornington Peninsula Shire Mobile Library

Last but not least Fremantle Library in WA. 

In other news, the Hon David Alan Templeman MLA, Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts, Parliament of Western Australia has stated in a letter, addressed to all WA Mayors, Shire Presidents and Commissioners, of the importance of libraries, 'In particular, I would like to see all libraries open in line with the health requirements. Libraries are extremely important community assets and play an important role in education, skills development and social cohesion'. 

Public libraries and the State Library of WA were mentioned in the ABC News article 'WA coronavirus restrictions set to be relaxed as WA councils scramble to reopen pools, libraries' and Perth public libraries were featured in the article 'Despite closing their doors, libraries have been overwhelmed with demand during isolation'. Finally,The Sydney Morning Herald has published the article 'Galleries, libraries the latest to be given a date to reopen'. 


Australian Capital Territory

Libraries ACT has joined many libraries around the country in offering online story time, as well as its Giggle & Wiggle program for babies and toddlers. Online story time has included bilingual story times, with languages including Bangla, Thai, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hindi, and Bahasa Indonesia. Aboriginal storyteller Larry Brandy has shared the story of Tiddalick the Frog, how to count to ten in Wiradjuri, and Uncle Larry Had a Farm (sung to the tune of Old MacDonald). Libraries ACT has established the Digital Resources Help Line. Additionally, Libraries ACT has started to reopen its libraries, this easing of restrictions is being done in stages, with the first being the re-opening of three branches and opening of return chutes. Precautions are in place to help protect the community and staff. 

New South Wales 

Queanbyean, NSW, will soon have a new civic and cultural precinct, which includes a new public library designed by Cox Architecture.  

The New South Wales Public Libraries Association Executive supported its members during the pandemic by making funds available for the purchase of additional eResources. A total of $85,000 was available in the NSWPLA COVID-19 eResources Fund, for distribution to NSW library services. The application process closed on 30 April with a 75% take up rate. Libraries have come to the fore with their ability to adapt with unparalleled demand for online services. A COVID-19 special newsletter will be out soon highlighting some of the initiatives being undertaken. Lastly, the NSWPLA Executive Office has created a one page reopening your library guide and checklist, both available on the NSWPLA website.

Planning is well underway for SWITCH 2020, 24-26 November. The program committee has finalised the content for both SWITCH and SWITCH O/N with an All Australian cast of speakers. Expressions of Interest are currently out for three panels – Reaching the Hard to Reach (showing the initiatives of inclusiveness), Diversity (providing programs/services differently) and Disaster Management (Australia has dealt with flood, fire, drought and a pandemic – how has your library pivoted to provide service throughout these challenging times). 


On Monday, 18 May, Libraries Tasmania began a staged approach to easing the restrictions enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic Libraries Tasmania continued to provide a full range of online services to its members during closure (and expanding and adapting many physical services so they can be delivered online), while working towards offering modified physical services in its libraries as soon as possible. The first stage of this—a ‘Click & Collect’ service to allow members to collect or drop off items—was successfully launched at Launceston Library on 18 May. Clients were able to place holds on items that were 'on shelf' and then pick up those holds during specified times during the day. The launch week saw thousands of holds placed, and staff working throughout the day to get those holds prepared for collection. The service is currently being extended to other large libraries, with smaller libraries to follow. 

Libraries Tasmania has partnered with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) on a long-term collecting project to document the Tasmanian community’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Stories Project aims to collect and preserve memories of this unprecedented period of disruption, social distancing and self-isolation. It seeks to capture the impact of this historic event on the lives and livelihoods of everyday Tasmanians to create a collective memory for the future. More information about the COVID-19 Stories Project can be found on the websites of Libraries Tasmania and TMAG.

Western Australia 

WA Public Libraries have commenced reopening from 18 May 2020 as WA State Government restrictions were lifted. Whilst restrictions and limited services apply, libraries have been overwhelmed by the positive response from the public. 

Other news

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is once again hosting the Great Story Swap, set to occur on 2 September 2020, where participants swap a favourite book in exchange for a gold coin donation to raise money for the foundation.

The Children's Book Council of Australia has announced the new dates for Book Week as 17-23 October 2020. The theme for week is Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

The Good Things Foundation (Australia) has produced its second Digital Nation Australia resource

The Greens party has announced its Create Australia three part rescue package which includes a proposed $300 million project that would see an Artist in Residence in every school and library in the country.

The winners of the Australian Book Industry Awards have been announced. 
International news

IFLA is seeking respondents to its Public Library Manifesto Survey 2020

The National Authorities on Public Libraries in Europe Forum has generated the report Public Libraries in Europe and COVID-19

An update from UK public libraries, which have seen a 205% surge in ebook library loans, and an additional 120,000 library members who joined their libraries in the first three weeks of lockdown. The British Library is encouraging its younger patrons to make miniature books during lockdown as part of its 'National Library of Miniature Books for the toy world'. On a lighter note, staff at Newmarket Library, UK, were surprised when they returned to their library and discovered that an overzealous member of the cleaning staff had elected to organise the books according to size
Campaigns, events and programming ideas
The ALIA Campaigns and Events page provides ideas for all year round advocacy. These campaigns and events give you the opportunity to run fun, informative activities in the library, online and through social media every month of the year.
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

Library and Information Week 2020
25–31 May 2020

National Simultaneous Storytime 2020
27 May 2020

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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Australian Library and Information Association
PO Box 6335 Kingston ACT 2604 AUSTRALIA
ph 02 6215 8222 fx 02 6282 2249
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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