View this email in your browser

May 2021

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

During the first phase of ALIA's digital health literacy training program, more than 2,700 public library staff received training. We are now into the next phase, with public libraries rolling out community programs in digital health literacy across Australia. We ask that all participating libraries run their community engagement sessions between now and the end of 2021. The online Digital Health Literacy training program finished on 31 March 2021. If you were unable to register and complete the program before then, you can now access the online training program here.

The ALIA team read through the Federal Budget 2021-2022 papers and has identified information relevant to the galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector. The full analysis can be read on the ALIA website. 

Once again, National Simultaneous Storytime was a huge success with 1,939,596 readers across 31,696 locations. We crunched the numbers and given where the International Space Station was at 11:00 AEST, which was at 418 km altitude, if the participants were all holding hands, we could get there and back 3.5 times. ALIA CEO, Sue McKerracher was interviewed about NSS by 6PR 882 News Talk and 2GB 873 AM. The event was supported by Scholastic Australia and New Zealand, the Office of the Chief Scientist, and the Australian Space Agency

During Library and Information Week 2021, ALIA celebrated Careers Day with an employee pitch webinar, and worked with Civica to discover Australia's top 20 most borrowed books. This year's choices revealed that mysteries and thrillers were especially popular. ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher was interviewed about the topic by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

ALIA has released a Consultation Report with the key themes that emerged during the three-month consultative process for the Professional Pathways initiative. This document stands as a record of the time, effort and thought that the sector contributed to the consultation, and of the themes that emerged, which will strengthen the project moving forward.

Since ALIA launched its Online Storytime pilot at the beginning of the year, 115 library services have joined the scheme, generating more than $50,000 to be distributed to publishers, authors and illustrators. The first quarterly report shows more than 290 recordings, 17,000 views, and, in addition to the subscription fee, sales of 965 books to libraries participating in the program. Interested public libraries and publishers can still register to participate in the pilot. To do so please, email

The annual literacy campaign, Australia Reads, is once again running in 2021 with the theme Stories that Matter: The Story of Me, the Story of You, and How we are becoming Us. This year the campaign features the Australian Reading Hour on 14 September 2021 with more than 200 Ambassadors and four new special edition books. Libraries can celebrate by hosting reading events and highlighting their resources to encourage reading. More information about the campaign including news releases can be found on the ALIA webpage

Would one-to-one guidance from a LIS professional be of benefit to you? Are you wanting to establish clear career goals and build your network? Or are you an experienced practitioner who is keen to further develop yourself professionally by supporting a mentee? Applications for the 2021 ALIA Mentoring Scheme close 25 June 2021 for a July 2021 start. 

Are you involved in recruiting staff for your library or information service? We want to hear from you. Our LIS Workforce Diversity survey only takes two minutes to complete, and the results will be published in a digital supplement to the July/August issue of INCITE. ALIA is also calling for submissions of articles that showcase initiatives in building and supporting a diverse and inclusive LIS workforce, also to be published in the upcoming digital supplement to INCITE. Both the survey and submissions close on Monday 31 May 2021.

Minecraft is a massively popular virtual space, where over a hundred million people all over the world come together, and build their own 3D spaces. INCITE Editor Andrew Finegan spoke with John Geijsman and Kirsty Lightfoot about their project, LibraryCraft, which has engaged with youth across West Australian public libraries since late 2019. Their article from the current issue of INCITE is available to read online.

We are calling on ALIA Members to help co-create the ALIA National 2022 Conference program. We want a program of diverse and exciting keynote speakers. This is your chance to create your own conference. Let us know your thoughts by the end of June 2021. 

Did you miss the first virtual event in the Information Online In-Depth series? Registrations are now open for the next session which will be all about digital rights. 

Submit your abstracts to the upcoming National Library and Information Technicians' online symposium by 30 June 2021 to Registrations will open in August 2021. 

The presentations from the Australian Media Literacy Research Symposium are now available to watch on the Australian Media Literacy Alliance YouTube account. The session, News, misinformation and media literacy features a talk from ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher on Fact and fiction – trust us, we know the difference. Tune in from 50:02. 

ALIA has once again collaborated with Speech Pathology Australia to provide the annual Speechie Library Talks campaign to highlight the role of speech pathologists in children’s language and literacy development. Interested public libraries can register to host a free speech pathologist talk at their library. The deadline for applications is 1 July 2021.  

Nominations are open for several ALIA Awards and grants, including the following ALIA excellence awards. As well as the two ALIA CYS Awards the Bess Thomas Award and the Marjorie Cotton Award
  • HCL Anderson Award - honours outstanding achievement within the library and information services sector by an associate member
  • Metcalfe Award - recognises high achievement by a personal financial member in their first five years of practice in libraries and information services.
  • Redmond Barry Award - honours outstanding contribution to the library and information services sector by an individual who is not eligible for associate or library technician membership.
The deadline for nominations is 30 June 2021. For more information see the website. The deadline for nominations for the ALIA CYS Awards is 30 July 2021. 
Want more ALIA and industry news? Subscribe to ALIA Weekly.
State and territory news

Public libraries 

Public libraries can take an online quiz to learn how it is contributing to sustainable development.

ALIA and the Australian Public Alliance have released the APLA-ALIA Standards and Guidelines for Australian Public Libraries, May 2021

The Kids Alive program is eager to partner with Australian libraries to help bring water safety education messages to Australian families via free training. For more information see the website. 

Library workers are encouraged to add missing references to articles on Wikipedia during the 1Lib1Ref campaign. There are a number of Zoom information sessions you can attend to learn more. 

Jane Cowell, CEO, Yarra Plenty Regional Library published the article Leading public libraries for the new normal. Similarly, Charles Sturt University published the article Australia’s public libraries: responding to a pandemic

Libraries across Australia celebrated Library and Information Week and National Simultaneous Storytime 2021 including:
  • Libraries ACT celebrated NSS on the big screen in Civic Square - in front of the Canberra Theatre Centre and Civic Library 
  • Stonnington Libraries, VIC, hosted a special storytime, bookclub meeting, and a discussion about true crime writing.
  • Northern Grampians Library Services, VIC, hosted readings of the NSS book and Biggest Morning Tea and funding celebrations. 
  • Corrective Services NSW, celebrated LIW for the first time ever by highlighting the value of prison libraries. 
  • Grenfell Library, NSW, celebrated with an NSS reading and by hosting a Biggest Morning Tea.
  • Parkes Shire Library, NSW, celebrated with a find-a-book challenge, and a special NSS reading from the Parkes Radio Telescope among other activities.
  • Port Stephens Council, NSW, encouraged its citizens to rediscover their local library during LIW2021. 
  • Cairns Libraries, QLD, hosted free tech training, an author talk and a screening of Dr Shannon Walker's reading of the NSS book. 


Libraries ACT is hosting a special Story Walk during National Reconciliation Week as part of the annual Tracks to Reconciliation celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture held in National Reconciliation Week. It’s a joint initiative of West Belconnen Child and Family Centre, Capital Region Community Services, Uniting Care Kippax, YMCA Holt, and Libraries ACT. With permission from Allen & Unwin, the story walk features a tale of friendship, unfairness and a vote for hope, as told in Say Yes by Jennifer Castles and Paul Seden.


Bega Valley Shire Library has two Save Power Kits for loan to library members; work has begun on the new Cabonne Community Centre which will include a library; Castle Hill Library is currently decorated by children's drawings from the Mayor’s Magical Colouring Challenge; read the Camden Libraries StrategyCentral West Libraries has launched its new app; City of Canada Bay has adopted a new Library Strategic Plan; Georges River Council is set to extend the opening hours of its Penshurst, Oatley and South Hurstville libraries; it is estimated that one keen public library book reader has borrowed more than 14,000 books since joining Liverpool City LibraryMidCoast Council Libraries has announced its plans for 2021 and beyond; Newcastle Library has opened a new DigiLab; and Snowy Monaro Regional Libraries is supporting multiculturalism in its community.   


Alice Springs Public Library is turning 40. To celebrate this birthday, the library is compiling a 40th Birthday Book. Get in touch with them if you have any photos of your time in the Alice Springs Public Library.


Logan City Council Libraries and Mount Isa City Library both hosted National Simultaneous Storytime events. Also in the state, there are concerns that public libraries could be negatively impacted by budget constraints. 


City of Adelaide created a series of videos which highlight the value of Adelaide City Libraries, and a Mirage article celebrated one of the longest running volunteers at City of Playford’s Library service. In the state, there are concerns about funding cuts for public libraries


Ballarat City Council has voted to grant the Ballarat Library an additional $4.5 million in funding; Belmont Library will be closed for refurbishments until 7 June; City of Melbourne Council voted unanimously voted to abolish library fines for overdue books; staff at Geelong Regional Library Corporation commenced industrial action over wage disputes; Goldfields Library Corporation partnered with the City of Greater Bendigo to provide a program of fitness activities for older patrons; Hindmarsh Shire has recently completed a new library build complementing the old library/customer Service centre in Dimboola; Latrobe City Libraries hosted a launch of the Libraries Change Lives community stories campaign; Monash Public Library Service released a video telling its pandemic story; Mornington Peninsula Shire Council scrapped more than $140,000 in overdue library fees; and members of the community are encouraged to visit the new Robinvale Library.


Libraries Tasmania launched an campaign to raise awareness of the cultural value of the collections of its three cultural institutions: the State Library of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Archives, and the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts. The campaign kicked off with a community-led project called ‘91 Stories’ (referencing the heritage-listed 91 Murray Street building in Hobart, the home of the three cultural institutions). Libraries Tasmania staff and the Tasmanian community have been asked to nominate their favourite items from our cultural collections, with a 'story' being represented through an object, image, manuscript, artwork or artifact—or even the building itself. The submissions will form the upcoming 91 Stories exhibition, which will showcase Tasmania’s cultural history.
In line with COVID-19 safety guidelines, Libraries Tasmania celebrated Library and Information Week 2021 online for the first time, with a digitally delivered professional development package. Included in the week was a series of webinars and supporting documents for libraries to use for individual professional development, or as team learning. The focus of learning was Media and Information Literacy – encouraging critical engagement with media in all areas of life. Guest speaker, ALIA President, Vicki Edmunds contributed an engaging and informative webinar as part of the package.

Other news

Across June, libraries can celebrate Pride Month and Audiobook Month.

The New York Times has published the article, 'Did the pandemic change summer reading for good? I hope so'. 

Bibliotheca has announced that its service ComicsPlus is now available for libraries.

In book awards news, the shortlists for International Booker Prize 2021 and the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021; the winners of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2021, the 2021 Stella Prize, the 2021 ABIA's, the Dublin Literary Award and the Encore Award were all announced. 

International news

Watch the recording of IFLA's presentation: Libraries inspire engagement with cultural heritage. The longlist for the IFLA Green Library Award 2021 has been announced and includes Hobsons Bay Libraries, VIC. 

Read the IFLA report, Libraries in the post-pandemic future of cities and catch up on the latest 10-Minute Digital Librarian, 'use social media analytics to understand your reach'. Enter the IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG) music competition for library workers. To enter record an original song about your passion for libraries and send it through to by 15 June 2021. 

In New Zealand, two public libraries were recognised in the 2021 New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards.

In the US, Brooklyn Public Library has opened its new public spaces, and libraries are hosting socially distanced 'Park and Read' activities. Public libraries are quickly becoming community hubs for citizen science according to Discover. The American Library Association has released its news item Library programming for autistic children and teensand American Libraries has published its '2021 library systems report'. 

In Canada, the design of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives has been revealed.

The library known as the Cloudscape of Haikou, China, has been featured in a dezeen article.

Professional learning
Keep up-to-date with the latest PD opportunities via the ALIA PD webpage. 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 ALIA Weekly.

We want to know what you would like to see in this newsletter, and how you would like to see it. Send your comments to
Previous editions of APLAnews are also available. Contributions to APLAnews should be sent to by the 15th day of each month.

Australian Library and Information Association
PO Box 6335 Kingston ACT 2604 AUSTRALIA
ph 02 6215 8222
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.
Send your comments to

Copyright © 2021 Australian Library and Information Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to APLAnews.

Our mailing address is:
Australian Library and Information Association
9-11 Napier Close
Deakin, ACT 2600

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.