25 February, 2008

Accessing books across Australia

Sometimes people want to borrow books that their local library does not have in stock. One of the services that Yarra Plenty offers is obtaining books from other libraries, or in library speak, inter library loans. This service has been available for a long time, but recently it got a lot easier for people to track down a title and place a request to borrow.

LibraryLink Victoria is a State Government initiative provided through Victorian public libraries that offers online access to various databases and library catalogues Australia wide. As well as being able to access library catalogues, you can also request material for pickup from your local branch. This service is free for materials borrowed from other Victorian public libraries. Some other libraries (eg University libraries, some State Libraries) charge for this service, and if they do, the cost is passed on to you - the usual fee is $13.50 per item.

So next time you are looking for a particular title, and your local library doesn't have it, try LibraryLink Victoria. It's another great service from your local library. And let me know if you've used this service and how you find it - we'd love to hear from you!

18 February, 2008

Butterflies and Lalor library

Our World Through Butterflies is a very special project undertaken by the library service in conjunction with NEAMI Whittlesea and the City of Whittlesea. NEAMI is a provider of community mental health rehabilitation and support services funded by the State Government's Health department.

The project has been funded through a Community Grant of $5,000 from the City of Whittlesea, as well as some additional funding from local MP Lily D'Ambrosio and NEAMI Whittlesea.

The Project Coordinator is Suzi Duncan, who has worked with another community artist, Siggy Pferfferle, and NEAMI consumers to create a beautiful mosaic art work made up of butterflies to "encompass, reflect and celebrate the indigenous heritage, cultural diversity, and inclusion of all people of all abilities in the City of Whittlesea." (Sarah Poole, City of Whittlesea's Public Art Officer)
The library wall near the children's area has been painted blue, and features 25 butterflies emerging from the pages of a book all made from mosaic tiles. Butterflies were chosen because they are a symbol of freedom and, for the artists involved with the project, renewal.

"We could have made all the butterflies the same shape but they would still have been so different" says Suzi. Suzi is eager to let other Melbourne communities know about the project saying "Art is an invaluable form of expression, a creative outlet for people who may not be confident to speak or write their feelings. The project is an example to local and neighbouring communities that people who have experienced mental illness are able achieve something significant".

For the library, the project has provided a start to continue a valuable partnership and the opportunity of further projects with NEAMI.

This artwork will be acquired into Council’s Cultural Collection. The project will be officially launched by the Mayor of Whittlesea, Cr Elizabeth Nealy and Cr. Kris Pavlidis on Thursday 28 February at 11 am at Lalor library.

11 February, 2008

Keeping up to date

As the oft quoted saying goes - the only certainty is change. Over the last couple of weeks I have been to 2 conferences, both of them with similar themes of new technologies and libraries.
One of the speakers I found most interesting was Sherman Young from Macquarie University. He is the author of "The book is dead. long live the book."

Forget the debate, says Young: the book, like John Cleese’s parrot, is already dead. Look around the bus: who’s reading? They’ve all got headphones “dangling out of ears.” (He also noted the irony of using the book format to proclaim its death...) At the conference he talked about the interactive, participative way that people now use media, and this includes how they get information and also their recreation. All that time that goes into creating and interacting on Facebook is being taken from passive television watching. He gave a great short take on where the web is going:
Web 1 - was about connectivity
Web 2 - is about creating
Web 3 - will be about content, and the machine pulling together information in a meaningful way.
Where does that leave public libraries? I think, at the very least, in a position they were in for Web 1 - providing people with access and training so that they can participate in an increasingly online world. At a higher level, we can facilitate content creation - whether that is through workshops or providing the means for people to do things like upload photos, videos or their stories onto social networking sites.
On 29 February, WikiNorthia is being launched. WikiNorthia aims to document life in Melbourne's north through the use of a wiki - which is a website or similar online resource that allows users to add and edit content collectively. But more about WikiNorthia in future blogs!
Regular classes are held in libraries that show people how to use RSS feeds, set up a blog and do other neat web 2.0 things. Just ask at your branch. And if you have any ideas about how you think libraries can incorporate these things into our programs and services please leave a comment.

06 February, 2008

Volunteering @ the library

Volunteers at Yarra Plenty provide much appreciated services and we encourage the involvement of volunteers for the benefit of our community. We appreciate the skills volunteers are able to offer and we know that they gain satisfaction from the services they provide.

This picture shows some of our volunteers enjoying Raymond J. Bartholomeuz (aka Brian Nankervis) at the annual volunteers party.

Our volunteers work with the library supporting services including the home library service, to provide access to reading materials. The Home Library service volunteers are paired with a person who is housebound, and they select the books and deliver them to the person's home. Others assist in the library with various tasks, which included RFID tagging.
And its not just us who think volunteers are terrific! At the recent Australia Day awards, the local history community was recognised by all 3 of our member councils:
  • The City of Whittlesea Citizen of the Year is Lindsay Mann, President of the Whittlesea Historical Society.

  • Harry Gilham of Eltham & District Historical Society and his wife Sue Dyet are the Nillumbik Shire Council's joint citizens of the year.

  • John Butler of Heidelberg Historical Society received a Jagajaga Community Australia Day Award from Jenny Macklin MP.

  • Merle Gilbo, one of our library volunteers at Ivanhoe also received a JagaJaga community Australia Day award.

If you are interested in volunteering we would love to hear from you. You can contact Marie McMahon on 9401 0725 for more details.

To the person who commented on the last blog about Haiku poems - could you please repost your comment, it disappeared into the ether ):