Leading Lights was a seminar showcasing winners from the State Library of Victoria’s Ramsay and Reid Scholarships and from the Pierre Gorman Award. I was the first presenter, talking about my study tour of 2007 and how much things had changed since then. (See the slides on my Presentation page).
Hereafter are my notes taken from the other presentations on the day, given by very passionate and inspiring Victorian public librarians. Reports from most of these people are available from http://libraries.vic.gov.au/cgi-bin/infonet/org.cgi?detail=1&id=64.
Catherine Killmier – Whitehorse-Manningham – Community Centred Library
Why libraries and community development.
Libraries are becoming community hubs and this is a way for libraries to remain relevant to our communities.
Community centred libraries are important anchors, open to all, focused on people rather than processes. Programs, place-making and partnerships are integral to this.
Catherine did a study tour of Canadian libraries, including the Working together project with four Canadian libraries. Because of the success of that project, Edmonton developed their own working together project, which she also visited.
Community centred libraries involves community development, needs identification, service planning, service delivery and evaluation. Involving the community in developing services and spaces.
Aims to break down barriers to use, addresses social inclusion, help libraries to remain relevant, all through community involvement and partnerships with other community organisations.
Vancouver has a community led model, with 22 libraries, employed 22 community development librarians. Most of the positions were filled by up-skilled staff. Edmonton has 13 branches with a large multicultural area – French and a Community development librarian in each branch.
All libraries had lots of open spaces, study areas.
Regina Public Library was part of the Working Together project, but weren’t able to continue once project was over due to funding restrictions. They had 9 branches with large 1st nations population and the library already works closely with them. Toronto has 99 branches, had a coordinator and community development librarians at the bigger branches. Lots of open spaces, fun and interactive spaces for the kids. Halifax had 14 libraries and the most successful implementation of the project. Have a Coordinator to manage and branch managers on board, so well embedded.
Programs included community advisory groups, after- hours access for high risk groups, indigenous storytellers in residence, reading and literacy programs, community gardens and more. Lots of partnerships with homeless shelters, disability groups, migrant and job agencies, community health providers, art and craft groups, women’s prisons and education providers.
Placemaking, the importance of space and capitalising on existing assets.
Place diagram, involves measurements, intangibles, key attributes. Can be used to build new spaces or improve existing ones.
Place-making tools – power of 10 (things to do or reasons to be there) and 11 principles of place- scalable.
11 Principles are:
- The community is the expert.
- You are creating a place, not a design.
- You can’t do it alone.
- They’ll always say, “It can’t be done.”
- You can see a lot just by observing.
- Develop a vision.
- Form supports function.
- Start with the petunias.
- Money is not the issue.
- You are never finished.
Mississauga Public Library square for outdoor programs incorporated into their new library. Pictor-Antigonish had extensive community input. Lots of meeting and programming space, library was a real community focus. New York Public Library worked to improve Bryant Park behind the library, which is now a community space, where they have markets, events, etc. The aim was to break down the walls from the inside to outside the library.
Development is a framework and toolkit, with four stages, plan, act, observe, reflect. It’s a cyclical model with continuous improvement, based on community feedback.
Plan – identify community assets, contact groups/organisations. Assets are both library (internal) based and community based (external). This needs to be continually revised.
Act – involved community participation. IAP2’S PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SPECTRUM’s process in Australia is to inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower. Act is where you develop the program’s, partnerships and place-making.
Observe involves qualitative and quantitative, from library, partners and community, in both short and long term impacts.
Reflect, on what did and didn’t work, improvements and share learning, and the leads back to planning.
Whitehorse-Manningham has instituted these principles at their Doncaster branch, including community mapping, community led collection development and place-making strategies. A new Community Outreach Strategy is in process.
There has been some staff resistance, but Catherine is working with library staff to catch the vision. Bayside is rolling it out now. The strategy is available to all.
Closed access times for at risk users – worked with community organisations to have groups brought in outside regular hours – building trust with those groups first be embedding with them and building relationships first.
Edmonton has more on evaluation and impact. Harder to measure data when the outcomes are more story based, but she is still looking. Follow up with surveys or informal conversations that Are recorded.
Patti Manolis – Geelong – Improve library services for Timor Leste and for their people here.
Told the Lenda Lafaek, the crocodile legend, which is the legend of the creation of Timor Leste.
Patti was first inspired by Kirsti Guzmao when she attended a conference presenting on Libraries building communities – Kirsti was a keynote there and spoke about Timor Leste, its issues and its first public library.
She visited in May and June in 2004, visiting over 30 libraries across the country including public, school and university.
Found a hunger for knowledge and desire for education. Lots of challenges, but libraries were popping up everywhere and some were even unknown to the developing professional body. She felt like an explorer discovering new libraries.
Official population then was just over 920,000 and average Age of 20.
Library development was affected by the 30 languages spoken in the country, but the official languages are Portuguese and Tetum. Younger people know and still use Indonesian, but English speaking is growing quickly.
No national library in Timor, but they deserve one to compile and collect their history and development. They now have a UNESCO presence and have support from an oil company for the building. Government has it as a priority. It will include a department that supports libraries across the country.
Most libraries were in buildings that were war damaged. Desperately need funding as they have no regular income and are often in unsafe buildings.Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, the first public library opened in 2002.
Instigated and drivers behind the library were local Dili young people, with volunteer and international support. They have experienced some setbacks with the riots in 2006 and assassination attempts in 2008.
The mission for the library is space for learning about their nation and to empower their community. Some services include reading room, collection, outdoor space, multilingual collection. Most items are in house use only. Very heavily used by young people and had 4 Internet computers. Also use the space for film nights and community events.
Still use the old building for historic content. UNESCO has erected a new building, part of which is their offices, the rest is the new library with the rest of the collection.
Spoke about the Atauro Library, which has four staff, 3500 items and runs a mobile library service via car, horse and boat. They were evicted by church landlord when the space was required for other purposes, so worked with a mini library until they got funding for a new building. Located in Vila. As materials were hard to come by, they also worked with NGOs to publish their own materials and in their own dialects.
The Australian Charity Libraries for Timor Leste Inc has raised more than $200,000 for libraries in Timor. They run an annual, well-supported trivia night and have also supported library courses at TAFE level. Now have 50 graduates.
Timing was right for the Patti’s project. In the time of Libraries Building Community, it demonstrated the impact of libraries on community and socio-economic development, increased commitment to libraries and in helping our neighbours. It encouraged people to support our professional compatriots in whatever they need.
Leonee Dere – Melbourne – Young adult services for 16-24 olds
She hoped to find some magical solution to getting young adults into libraries. Didn’t realise had so much to learn. But as a result, she rediscovered her passion for youth librarianship.
Went away for 4.5 months, did work placements in the Netherlands, and visited Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Sweden, Finland, Los Angeles, Oakland, Queens and Chicago. She also presented at IFLA’s young people satellite conference.
What is the Geography of no? – Poor attitude, bad collections, lack of advocacy, ‘don’t’ signage, policy restrictions, no dedicated space.
Geography of yes – staying factor, spaces with more than books, strong relationship with staff, YA space or whole library, welcome staff, easy membership processes, trust, young adult representation on library committees.
Young adults and space, most libraries have spaces up to 18. Not so much for young adults.
Have all forms of arrangements to make the most of staying factor – supported by good opening hours. Create an experience that is more than the book.
Tio Tretton Library in Stockholm is a sub library for 10 – 13 years, no adults allowed. Space allows them to be the children they are, but also explore who they can be.
Designs that lead to a geography of yes eg. Music studio, shelves on wheels so you can move things and make space for other uses.
Have fast turn around time of 1 month from consult to conclusion, libraries beyond the book, staff resourcing. Library of 100 talents – learning from more than rote – ask their young people to drive the topic and that is the library theme for the month’s activities, displays etc.
Showed the Mindspot video on YouTube – http://youtu.be/ixsOLvLSARg.
Best practice is ever-evolving, avoids stagnation, reduces assumptions, ongoing conversations, know your community, ideas can lead to innovation.
Leonee’s recently published report is available on the Infonet.
Jane Grace and Erin ( Auslan interpreter) – Pierre Gorman Award 2012
What services do libraries offer particularly to the deaf?
Yarra Plenty’s Project was a project with Auslan and Voice Unite, with four elements – staff development, children’s programs, adult programs and dissemination of information.
Ran this project to increase community access to library services.
First stage was recognising the needs of the community – statistics, local newspapers.
17% of Australians report a hearing difficulty when communicating with another person.
Subculture – know your target audience. Listen to their stories and find people who are experts.
How does your audience access your service? Online via website, social media, community groups and services. Don’t reinvent the wheel – learn from other people and take what will work for you.
Analyse the needs of the audience? Always new diagnoses, so need to consider and find these people. They used staff development days to educate.
Planning – establish a brand or identity for the project. Need to create a focal point, they used characters and a symbol from Auslan for familiarity. Schedule 6 – 12 months ahead and prepare and distribute a staff brief. In planning, delegate. Get out into the community and promote the program – published a book in collaboration with a local primary school.
Enhance staff skills – had 2 staff and one community professional development day. Eighty people attended. Learnt that you can use body language and gestures to tell a story. Eg. Red Riding Hood.
Learning the language – showed Muck Heap by Polyglot on YouTube – http://youtu.be/SZI4xOeSZH8.
Allow your project to diverge – if something doesn’t work, go another way or let it go. Best laid plans can go astray. Their planned book group at Thomastown became a language cafe at Watsonia. Feedback is vital.
Reflect on your learnings, results and impacts. Listen to feedback. As part of their poetry project they incorporated an Auslan element.
Be adaptive. Their Auslan story times were initially separate events, but they ended up bringing them together with their regular story times.
Over the course of the project they had 1151 children at Auslan story times and the language cafe has been well attended and continues.
Where to from here? The have up skilled staff, increased awareness and attendance. They will be disseminating staff development DVDs, the picture book and more from the project to all Victorian public libraries.
Staff training first day was demonstrations, 2nd day was more hands on. Working with experts at Metro Access to develop and run ongoing training.
Liz Pidgeon – Yarra Plenty – Local and family history services
Libraries and their local and family history involvement have a key role as part of lifelong learning. There is a lot that is contributing to the growth of what is now a billion dollar industry.
Story telling – Stories connect people. Public libraries are custodians to unique and accessible heritage materials.
Check out the blog of the cookbook of unknown ladies, from the Westminster archive, a public library focused on local history, part of the Westminster Library service. The Thames project was a partnership project which included a website on cholera and the Thames. Also from 2008-2012, museums, archives and libraries were encouraged to collect and make available content from the 1948 Olympic Games via e website The people’s Record. West end at war is a site that commemorated the 70th anniversary of the London Blitz – which documented the war damage.
Library Time Machine – local studies in Kensington which tells stories around items from their archive.
New York Public Library has an extensive restaurant collection, digitised and made available, after transcribing by users, in the What’s on the menu website. Not just about menus, but cultural background, trends and styles, socioeconomic background.
Allen County Public Library has the comprehensive Lincoln Collection and also co-hosts the Internet Archive
How can we showcase our heritage collections? Fact sheets and detailed guides to our collections and much more on our website. Blogs are a great dissemination tool. Norfolk is a great example of this.
Factors to consider- interesting and engaging stories, enthusiastic staff, good IT, digitisation and funding if required. You also need partners, a building, research facilities and sustainability practices with funds allowed for ongoing costs.
Historypin was showcased by both conferences she attended, both as a research tool and as a way of disseminating content. New project, History mysteries used crowd sourcing to identify images from San Francisco.
Flickr now allows videos. SLV has several boards showcasing images from their collections.
Family and local enthusiasts are now also taking to Pinterest. Yarra Plenty is pinning real estate images from known Alastair Knox built homes.
National Archive in UK is an avid user of social media – using multiple forms and getting great user feedback and information.
John F Kennedy Library have started uploading Hemingway’s scrapbooks – warts and all. Internet Archive and Family Search are doing more here too.
Australia’s Community Heritage is a government website which invites contributions – as does Wikinorthia.
What about other documents? Remember the WWI centenary next year.
Need to connect our communities in lots of different ways.