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June 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

Public library staff can access several webpages which ALIA has created to support library professionals and related industries during the pandemic.These 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. 

Now is the time to participate in ALIA’s campaign, ‘We’re back! Tell us how you missed us.’ We have prepared a toolkit, with a range of downloadable resources for libraries, as they reopen. Central to the campaign is a survey for public libraries to invite people to tell us how they missed us. To date, we have over 2,000 responses and the survey will remain open until 31 July. 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. Closing date 10 July. Please direct any questions to

The first 500 responses to the We’re Back survey showed that, after book borrowing, social interaction has been the biggest loss felt by the community during the COVID-19 lockdown of public libraries. An interview with Sue McKerracher, ALIA CEO, was published in more than 30 publications including In DailyThe Canberra TimesThe Transcontinental Port Augusta and The Standardand she spoke to radio audiences in Perth, Sydney, south east South Australia, North Tasmania, and the SBS.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, public libraries have seen ebook borrowing increase by as much as double over the same period last year, but there are still issues about availability, licensing conditions and cost, as revealed by an industry survey undertaken by the ALIA Book Industry and eLending Advisory Committee. You can read the full report on the website. 

You can read ALIA's submission in response to the Australian Government Senate Inquiry into COVID-19. This was a joint submission with the Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA), and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has published the article Research shows virus undetectable on five highly circulated library materials after three days. The findings are part of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project
ALIA news

In the context of Black Lives Matter, the ALIA Board has released the statement ALIA condemns racism, racial discrimination and race-based violence
'The ALIA Board of Directors condemns the social injustices endured by People of Colour in the US and in Australia, and will actively work to eradicate racism by helping to develop library services that are equitable, culturally aware, and inclusive to all who live in Australian society'. 

The ALIA Board has endorsed a statement released as part of the Culture 2030 goal campaign.  
'With the world faced with the COVID-19 pandemic today and the need to rebuild our societies tomorrow, culture should be at the heart of the response. Culture brings inspiration, comfort and hope into people’s lives. To harness this potential, the Culture 2030 Goal movement, in the context of its engagement in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, calls on UN agencies, governments and all other stakeholders to act'.

ALIA is seeking submissions for the September/October issue of INCITE. The theme is Professional Growth and the deadline is 21 July. Email for more details. 

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

Public libraries recognised in the news

Since the last issue of APLAnews, public libraries across the nation have featured in news articles. 

These NSW public libraries have featured in articles, Bega Valley Shire Library Service, Dubbo LibraryCowra Library, Georges River Libraries, Grenfell LibrariesMid North Coast LibraryParramatta City Library, Shoalhaven LibrariesSutherland Shire Council Libraries, Tamworth City Library, Unanderra LibraryWingham Library, Wollongong City Libraries, and Young High School Joint Use Library and Community Facility.

City of Darwin Libraries, NT, Mount Gambier Library, SA, and Libraries Tasmania, were each featured in articles.  

As well as these Victorian libraries, Boroondara Library ServiceBrunswick Library, Dunolly Library, Goldfields Library Corporation, Goulburn Valley Libraries, Mildura Library, Swan Hill Regional Library, and Wimmera Regional Library Corporation.

A few of WA's public libraries were spotlighted, City of Cockburn Libraries, Karrinyup Library and Woodvale Library.

Public libraries were mentioned in the article Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over? and The Canberra Times published the article 'Isolated Australians to be connected long after pandemic is over'. In other news the report 2020 Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey has revealed that public libraries are the most popular Local Government service in Victoria.

Last but not least, a statement released by the Hon Dan Andrews Premier of Victoria, states that due to recent cases of COVID-19, libraries, alongside museums, will all stay at a maximum of 20 people in any one space until 12 July. 

Australian Capital Territory  

All public libraries in Canberra, and the ACT Heritage Library, have reopened and are operating regular hours. To celebrate National Reconciliation Week, Libraries ACT hosted Tracks to Reconciliation 2020 Online. This annual collaborative event is usually held at multiple locations in Canberra and is a joint initiative which continues the reconciliation journey by sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural activities. The 2020 online event included local Aboriginal song writer Johnny Huckle singing his favourite tunes, a performance by the Wiradjuri Echoes, a bush tucker cooking demonstration, online Wiradjuri story time with Larry Brandy, and downloadable activities for children. For more information see the website.  

Libraries Tasmania 

All Libraries Tasmania branches have reopened. Additionally, Libraries Tasmania has published its latest Archives and Heritage blog post, written by Libraries Tasmania archivist, Jen Jerome. The post features information on the COVID-19 Stories project, a partnership between Archives Tasmania, part of Libraries Tasmania, and the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery (TMAG), and aims to preserve memories of the pandemic. The project has received more than 60 submissions to date, including photos, poems, stories and anecdotes. More information about the COVID-19 Stories Project and the process for submitting material can be found on the websites of Libraries Tasmania and TMAG, or email Libraries Tasmania has also published a blog post about its conservation of a 170-year-old anatomical drawing by the Hobart doctor, Edward Swarbreck Hall. The post was penned by library conservator Stephanie McDonald.  

New South Wales

In NSW Public Libraries Association (NSWPLA) news, the Association provided $63,272 in support to libraries through the NSWPLA COVID-10 eResources Fund, while libraries across the state were closed during the pandemic. Additionally, early bird registrations are open for its SWITCH 2020 Conference. In other news, applications will open in November for the inaugural Charles Sturt University Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student undertaking a Bachelor of Information Studies. This scholarship is part of the broader NSWPLA strategy to support the professional development of current and future NSW public library staff. Last but not least, Suzi Gately, Manager Libraries and Learning at the City of Newcastle, has been appointed as a public library representative on the Trove Strategic Advisory Committee


The Gordon White Library, Mackay, was reopened on 17 June 2020, and during its COVID-19 induced closure the library was refurbished. The 20-year-old carpet was replaced, the interior has been fully painted and there’s new shelving, end panels, RFID self-service equipment, after-hours chute, self-service kiosks and booth seating. Additionally, new signage has been installed to complement the updated layout of collections, allowing for easier navigation with more effective display and promotion of collections. A new innovative program space is also available, together with an updated children’s space. 

South Australia

Public Libraries South Australia (PLSA) has released the report, The answer is Libraries: The value of Public Libraries in South AustraliaThe report was commissioned by PLSA with support from the Libraries Board of South Australia.

Western Australia 

Western Australian public libraries continue to reintroduce services and programs as restrictions are eased in WA’s COVID Safety Plan Phase 4 commencing 27 June 2020.The removal of requirements for attendance registers and quarantining of returned library materials as part of Phase 4 will enable librarians to recommence delivering popular programs including storytime, ESL, maker spaces, and welcome back the wide variety of clubs that use library spaces, whilst adhering to 2sqm physical distancing requirements.

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 is Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.  

The Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture NT, has released its strategy report Creative industries strategy NT 2020–2024

Sales of Australian Indigenous books have skyrocketed following the recent Black Lives Matter protests, and the First Nations and People of Colour Writers Count has begun. The count aims to confirm how many books by First Nations and People of Colour were published in 2018. 

In book awards news, the following shortlists were announced, the 2020 Reading & Enjoying Australian Literature (REAL) Awards, Young Adult Book Prize shortlist 2020, Booksellers’ Choice 2020 Book of the Year Awards, and Miles Franklin Literary Award 2020. Additionally, the winner of the 2020 Penguin Literary Prize, has been announced and Shaun Tan, Australian artist and author, has been awarded the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal for distinguished illustration in a book for children and young people for his picture book Tales from the Inner City. 

International news

IFLA has published the following articles and statements The 10-Minute International Librarian #2: Improve a Library-Related Wikipedia Page, Libraries and Media Literacy: IFLA to Participate in an EU Project, and Is the library eBook market working? Identifying areas for further investigationAdditionally, it has updated its webpage Key resources for libraries in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic

New Zealand's Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin has announced an extra $58.8 million for New Zealand libraries.The four-year initiative will help fund free internet access in all public libraries and provide specialist library services for schools and young people. Rachel Esson, President of LIANZA, has welcomed the funding and ALIA has written to the Arts Minister drawing the Australian Government’s attention to this investment.

In US news, the presentation of the 2020 Gale/LJ Library of the Year award has been controversial this year. The Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association, has released its report Public libraries respond to COVID-19: survey of response and activitiesInfoDocket has collated a listing of US libraries and library organisations who have released statements on racism and The New York Times has published an article on the future of US public libraries. In other news, the Library of Congress has been working on its Boccaccio Project. The library will share 10 new musical compositions that it commissioned in response to the COVID-19 quarantine. Fortune has published the article 'E-book reading is booming during the coronavirus pandemic'.

You can have a look through the website, Library Buildings in Europe, which showcases libraries across the continent. This website was created as a benchmarking tool to help industry professionals interested in new or refurbished library building projects.
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.

Australia Reads, 1-12 November 2020
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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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
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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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