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February 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

We have more than 130 great titles available for your library to choose from as part of the ALIA-run 2021 Online Storytime pilot. Register at so your library can start making short videos of picture book readings from the growing list of books.  

Thank you to everyone who attended ALIA's first virtual Information Online conference. We had more than 2,700 participants from libraries, publishers, related industries and cultural institutions who heard from industry leaders and connected with exhibitors.

Nine ALIA Members have been nominated for the 2021 ALIA Board election: Lisa CappsAssociate Professor Mary CarrollVicki EdmundsKathryn EyreSuzie GatelyDr Jo KaedingMarian Morgan-BindonLisa Smith and Alissa Sputore. Voting opens on 1 March 2021. 
In 2021, public libraries will be able to participate in the Australia Reads campaign throughout the year. The much-loved Australian Reading Hour will remain as the signature celebration event and will be held nationally on Thursday 16 September 2021. Check out the website to learn how your library can champion reading to increase the number of Australians reading, and the frequency with which they read.

Has your public library signed up for the ALIA-run Digital Health Literacy online free training yet? Already more than 2,400 people have undertaken training to guide others to navigate and understand the Federal Government digital health initiatives, such as My Health Record. The training also assists libraries to better support their communities, and engage with other likeminded organisations. The timeframe for the training is coming up soon on 31 March 2021. Register your interest today by emailing

The Library Information Week 2021 (LIW2021) merchandise has proved very popular, especially our library technician pin. Make sure to order your merchandise today before it's all sold out. We have our two pins (library technician and LIW2021), bookmarks, stickers and a promo pack. Library and Information Week 2021 runs from 17-23 May 2021. 

Everyone is getting excited for National Simultaneous Storytime 2021, coming to us from the International Space Station on 19 May 2021. The book Give me some Space! by Philip Bunting, has been selected as a 2021 Notable Book (alongside three of his other books) in the CBCA Book of the Year awards. To get involved with the event, register to participate on the day. NSS2021 is supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist, the Australian Space Agency, and Scholastic Australia

Have you submitted your article to the May/June issue of INCITEYou still have almost two weeks to put your thoughts together into a submission. The theme of this issue is Open Space: how libraries continue to create spaces that are available to their communities, whether adapting physical spaces to connect in times of pandemic, or creating innovative online spaces. Or perhaps you have another interpretation of what makes an open space. Please direct any questions to

Once again, communities across Australia celebrated their love for libraries. From Tomaree Library & Community Centre in NSW, to Bracken Ridge Library, Cairns Libraries, and Sunshine Coast Libraries in QLD; University of Melbourne Library VIC; in Canberra at Libraries ACT; the South Australian Parliament Research Library; and Town of Cambridge Library in WA. Thank you to everyone who celebrated and we hope to see you all again in 2022. 
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State and territory news

Public libraries 

Once again, First Dog of the Moon has mentioned libraries in one of his comics


Work is underway on upgrades to the Woden branch of Libraries ACT, which will include new community spaces for technology, recording and editing, reading and studying, and flexible, multifunctional spaces.
Libraries ACT has released its annual reading challenge. Read your way through the alphabet with titles, authors or subjects/genres that start with one of the letters of the alphabet. There are some ideas to get you started, or you can find your own.

The ACT Government, has announced its budget for 2020–2021. Budget statements H cover public libraries


The book sale at Bathurst Library proved popular; rediscover Campbelltown Libraries through their latest campaign; author Lian Tanner visited Forbes Library for a talk; plans will soon be submitted to build the Gosford Regional LibraryOrange City Library is restarting its Pageturner Book Discussion Group for 2021; Singleton Library hosted author Peter FitzSimons for a talk on his latest book Breaker Morant; Springwood Library will be temporarily closed to facilitate a $2.62 million redevelopment; the new program at Wollongong City Libraries provides a low-sensory environment for families with special needs; and development of the Young Library is ongoing. 



Cairns Libraries launched a survey asking its community about their experiences using local library services; Gin Gin Library has new 'smart shelf' technology in place; and Toowoomba Regional Council is set to survey residents in February for feedback on Council’s library services across the region. 


Read the Connected Communities: Vision for Northern Territory Public Libraries 2017-2023 which provides a strategy for the development of the public library sector as a whole to meet the needs of the Northern Territory's diverse communities. 


City of Melbourne Libraries is hosting a series of online conversation groups on Zoom; the City of Greater Geelong is building a new public library; Mornington Peninsula Shire is reviewing its library book services; the refurbishments for Tatura Library is now complete; and Yarra Plenty Regional Library has released information on how its virtual Code Club has been going during the pandemic.

Also in Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government has released details on the Expanded Living Libraries Program funding; and Public Libraries Victoria is seeking responses for its survey, Libraries for Health and Wellbeing: Community, partner and staff survey


In WA, patrons at the Town of Cambridge Library can now borrow formal wear.  


To uncover what Tasmanians were reading in 2020, Libraries Tasmania compiled a range of ‘top 10’ lists from its almost 4 million loans during the year. These lists have been shared across social media networks and on the Libraries Tasmania website. The Libraries Tasmania Top 10 lists include fiction and non-fiction titles; digital and physical resources; adult, youth and junior titles; audiobooks, DVDs, magazines, picture books and more. 

In 2020, the Top 10 most-borrowed adult fiction books by Tasmanian authors were:

  1. Bruny by Heather Rose
  2. The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh
  3. The Beautiful Mother by Katherine Scholes
  4. The Bluffs by Kyle Perry
  5. The Tea Gardens by Fiona McIntosh
  6. White Horses by Rachael Treasure
  7. The Pearl Thief by Fiona McIntosh
  8. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett
  9. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan
  10. The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
The full list of Libraries Tasmania Top 10s for 2020 can be found on the Libraries Tasmania website

Additionally, the conversation over the status of the Longford Library's book chute is ongoing.

Other news

An essay published in The Conversation looks at how future generations will remember the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role libraries play in recording these experiences.

The most recent report from Reconciliation Australia provides real life examples of reconciliation in action and a series of actions that must be taken to move our reconciliation focus. Australian arts and cultural heritage organisations can apply for grants via the Visions of Australia program to develop exhibitions of cultural material of historic, scientific, design, social or artistic significance.

In book awards news, the longlists for the Australian Book Design Awards 2021 and the Australian Book Industry Awards, and the Notables longlist for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards were all announced. Additionally, the nominees for the 2021 Philip K Dick Award; the finalists for the Gotham Book Prize; the winners of the 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2021 were announced. In related news, applications are now open for the 2021 Readings Teen Advisory Board; and Merriam-Webster dictionary has added 520 new words to its records.

International news

Watch the IFLA video, Track and Trace: COVID-19 and library privacy and read the article Engaging with politicians in library advocacyConnect with the international library scene and learn from the IFLA online webinars. Libraries were highlighted in proceedings of the UN Commission on Social Development. Read more on the IFLA website.

Children and their caregivers are some of the most frequent users of libraries, As part of the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024 the Association is focusing on the literacy and wellbeing needs of children and young adults in the library. Nominations are open for the IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year. The winning library represents the best combination of functional architecture with creative IT solutions which takes into account both digital developments and local culture.

How have public libraries in the US weathered the pandemic? Read the Ditto Press article to learn more and check out this visualisation to see which ebooks are the most popular in the US public library system.

In Nova Scotia, Canada, a book has been returned to a library 82 years late. Likewise, a book was returned to New York State Library after 72 years overdue. Also in the US, The Washington Post published the article: Beyond books: Libraries cure pandemic boredom with virtual classes, crafts and story time.

In the UK, there are calls against the closing of five Croydon Council public libraries.

In Europe, the Utrecht Library presented the book Living Libraries: the house of the community around the world

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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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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