31 March, 2008

Successful grant applications

Jacob uses a Daisy reader (from Vision Australia Website)

We were pleased to be awarded 2 important grants in the last couple of weeks.

In partnership with Vision Australia Information Library Service, Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation, Goldfields Library Corporation, and Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library, Yarra Plenty was awarded $73,100 for a Service Enhancement through Partnership project.

The Service Enhancement through Partnership project will deliver digital information to Victorians who are blind, have low vision or have a print disability through public libraries. It will also provide people with print disabilities greater access to reading materials by using DAISY devices and hopefully to encourage and facilitate people joining existing public library book clubs.

I mentioned DAISY books in one of my earlier blogs, they are digital books loaded onto special playback devices that provide easier access than ordinary CD talking books and also have some smart features, like remembering where you stopped listening to a book, even if you've listened to others subsequently. The long term goal of Vision Australia is to distribute the devices to everyone who is eligible. If you know anyone who has a print disability, please contact Marie McMahon for more details.

The other grant we were pleased to recieve is from the Victorian State Government is for $69,000 towards a new prime mover for the Mobile Library through the Living Libraries Project. The new mobile library is just over 2 years old now, and provides a much valued service especially for outlying communities. This grant will allow us to upgrade the prime mover which is now due for replacement.

25 March, 2008

Yarra Plenty staff on study exchange to the USA

Imaginon, PLCMC

Yesterday morning two Yarra Plenty staff boarded a plane for the US - they are off to do a 5 week exchange at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.

Lynette Lewis and Jane Grace were chosen to represent our library in a new program instituted last year between our 2 libraries, which will also see 2 staff from PLCMC visit Yarra Plenty in the next few months.

Jane and Lynette are also attending the Public Library Association Conference in Minneapolis on the way to Charlotte.

PLCMC is one of the most innovative and inspiring library systems in the United States. An online learning program for library staff called the 23 Things program was developed there and it is also home to the fabulous Imaginon, a children’s library and theatre complex. Yarra Plenty implemented the 23 Things program for our staff and we have built up a relationship with PLCMC over the past 18 months.

The learning opportunities will focus on any of the following areas:

• Work experience within the children’s and teen library at ImaginOn, a unique partnership of the Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

. Work experience within self selected divisions and departments of Main Library, or any of the 23 other locations. Focus areas for PLCMC include community engagement, organisational excellence, research, innovation and strategy, library experience, branch planning, collection management, development and building strategies

• An orientation to PLCMC and an overview of the library’s culture, management and strategic planning processes

• An opportunity to participate in Library Board and senior management meetings

• Branch visits and visits to neighbouring library systems.

We are very excited about this special opportunity to learn and share with a leading US public library. I'll keep you posted on their adventures!

17 March, 2008

Young readers program launched

On the 5th March the Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Maxine Morand, launched the Young Readers Program.

The key objectives of this State Government initiative are the delivery of children's books and reading support materials to improve early childhood literacy. The program has 3 components:

  1. A picture book for every 2 year old child through the Maternal & Child Health service

  2. A free "Rhyme Time" booklet and DVD, book bags and information on local libraries for families with 4 month old babies through the Maternal & Child Health Service and

  3. Professional development offered to early childhood professionals, librarians and maternal and child health nurses.

This project is being managed by the State Library of Victoria and is funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

It will work in conjunction with the long running Bookaroo program that our library service has provided for a number of years. This too is promoted through Maternal & Child Health services and provides an opportunity for new parents to learn how to read to their babies and prepare them for literacy. On joining the library the baby is presented with a book. There are regular programs in the branches for babies and toddlers.

Let us know if you use these services and attend programs with your baby or toddler - we'd love to have your feedback.

12 March, 2008

Home Library Services

Marie McMahon, Aged services officer
This Friday Yarra Plenty is hosting a workshop for library managers and outreach library staff to discuss future directions for home library services. As our population ages, there is a greater need for libraries to deliver books and other materials, especially talking books, to people who can no longer visit the library. The aim of the workshop is to share information and ideas and discover new technologies, such as Vision Australia's Daisy reader and Overdrive, the downloadable media now available from Yarra Plenty.

Home library service is the library version of Meals on Wheels for library materials. We have a wide range of books in large print and talking books for those whose eyesight might be failing. We also hold current magazines, a huge range of dvds and music cds. Materials are delivered to people in their homes by volunteers who select the material and deliver it on a regular basis.

As well as home delivery, the library also has an outreach vehicle that was commissioned at the end of 05. It is a state of the art purpose built mobile library for ambulatory older people who cannot access their branch library. With its wheelchair lifter, it is accessible for people in wheelchairs and on walking frames. It visits assisted living accommodation in the region on a regular roster.

If you know of anyone who loves to read but has difficulty getting to the library because of sickness or disability please phone Marie McMahon, our Aged Services Officer, on 9401 0725 or email mmcmahon@yprl.vic.gov.au. Referral forms are available at all our libraries and can be downloaded here.

Also, if you know of a facility that would be interested in having the Outreach Vehicle visit, or you are interested in volunteering we would love to hear from you.

Have you used these outreach services? What do you think of them? Please let us know.

03 March, 2008

Wikinorthia Launched

WikiNorthia, a joint project between Darebin, Moreland and Yarra Plenty libraries, was launched last Thursday at Coburg Library by the President of the Library Board of Victoria, Mr John Cain. This initiative aims to collect and preserve the stories and images of this region’s colourful history and rich cultural foundations.

WikiNorthia uses social networking technology to publish people's stories in Melbourne’s north onto the world wide web. This is the first such project in Victoria and Australia, engaging people from communities across the five local council areas of Moreland, Darebin, Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea. The aim is to engage and encourage people across the five municipalities to share their stories and by compiling people’s stories, photographs, even moving images, a profile will be built of life in Melbourne’s north.

The project was funded by the Library Board of Victoria , through a $50,000 Libraries Building Communities demonstration grant.

Ongoing training sessions will be offered to people who are interested in contributing their stories, memories and insights to the project through their local library. A reminiscence session will be held at Watsonia Library on Wednesday April 16 from 10.30 - 11.30 where library staff will help you record your memories of growing up in the northern suburbs.

I encourage you to have a look at the site, and please - feel very welcome to add your stories. We are looking forward to watching WikiNorthia grow!