30 June, 2008

Lalor Library

Lalor Library

This is the first in an ongoing series that will highlight a particular branch of the library service. I am starting with Lalor library for no particular reason! Lalor was extended and refurbished just over 4 years ago. It is one of our busier branches, there always seems to be something happening there.

A new program called One2One offers people the opportunity to learn about technology in a friendly and supportive environment, one on one with a library staff member. If you would like to learn how to work your new iPod, download a podcast or set up a blog just go along to the library and have a chat with our friendly staff.

New additions to the Toy Library
The Toy Library is being relaunched this Friday at 11am. Cinder the clown will be there, providing face painting and balloon sculpting, and there are lots of new toys to borrow.

The new Wii is proving a big hit with younger borrowers, and we have a dance pad, a guitar and a fit pad as well as over 20 games. The launch party was a couple of weeks ago at the Just4Kids session. Just4Kids is an after school program for 5 - 12 year olds that encourages reading and games at the library.
Baby storytime is really taking off at Lalor too, after storytime mums are welcome to stay and chat over a cup of tea or coffee. There is now a parent's room with a microwave and change table and a couch for mums to feed their babies.
So if you are in the Lalor area - feel free to drop in, have a chat with the staff, pick up something to read and take home or maybe even have a go on the Wii! I know Felicity and all the staff at Lalor would love to see you.

23 June, 2008

Annual Budget and Strategic Plan

Finding My Place project to be expanded in 08/09

At the Board meeting on Thursday night the Annual Budget 08/09 and Strategic Plan 08/12 were adopted.

The aim of the 08/09 budget is to
  • increase collection funding to achieve a 6 year depreciation rate over the next 5 years

  • achieve the outcomes that have been identified in the Strategic Plan and the Service Frameworks
The overall budget increase for the library service is 4.9%. Some of the new projects that will be undertaken this year are:
  • Plenty Reads project, a program to promote reading and share reading experiences, including promotion of local authors
  • Finding My Place, an expansion of the program for at risk students in conjunction with local secondary schools

  • Marketplace of ideas, a new program to introduce speakers and discussion groups to increase community capacity

  • Children's library upgrades to make the spaces more attractive and vibrant
  • Additional pcs for branches, including advanced workstations
  • Digitising local history, especially local photographs.

  • As well as these projects, an additional $42,000 will be available to purchase library books and other resources.
This budget also sees overdue charges rising by 5c to 25c a day, the first increase in 12 years. We charge overdue fees to encourage people to return their library items in a timely manner and so allow everybody the best access possible to our collections. The cost for lost library cards will also increase, to $2.50.

The Annual Budget and Strategic Plan 08 - 12 are both available on the library's homepage.

Let us know what you would like in your local library, we'd love to hear from you.

Children's concept Mill Park Library

16 June, 2008

Libraries for everybody seeking to understand the world and themselves

This was the theme for the International Federation of Library Associations' (IFLA) Metlib conference in Prague which I have just attended. Metlib is a section of the association for large urban libraries and members include some of the largest libraries in the world, Toronto, Taipei, Shanghai, Queens, Seattle and Singapore as well as leading Scandinavian libraries, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Strahov Monastery Library

The program included papers and visits to cultural institutions including some very beautiful libraries, in particular the National Library of the Czech Republic and the Library of the Strahov Monastery, both of which date back to medieval times.

One of the most interesting presentations was from Taipei , Chinese libraries are becoming world leaders in many areas and their new libraries are embracing green principles. There is a strong program of events and activities promoting reading, some of which we can try at Yarra Plenty, and some of their new libraries are being sponsored by private companies.

In Singapore they are attempting to raise the livability index through rejuvenation of libraries, and they are looking to have a Youth library in Orchard Rd and also a Sports library to complement the Performing Arts library at the new Arts Centre.

Stockholm too is using libraries to increase its profile, and its aim to be a world class city by 2030 encompasses the new Stockholm library that extends the famous Asplund library, that will be completed by 2014.

I have come back with many new ideas and a new energy for the vital role that libraries are playing in our changing world. Please feel free to share your experiences of overseas libraries on the blog.

02 June, 2008

Services for children and teens at PLCMC

An exchange program between the Yarra Plenty Library Service and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina gave two staff from Yarra Plenty the opportunity to explore ways that another public library encourages visits from children and youth.

It is always hard to encourage the younger generation into the physical library building, especially in a world where social networking tools such as Myspace and Facebook, mobile phones and chat are part of everyday multi-tasking.

The Public Library if Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) have worked very hard in this area and have created great programs which draw children and teens to the library. Here is a snapshot of some of the innovative ways they attract the younger generation.

ImaginOn is a collaborative venture of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and the Children's Theatre of Charlotte.
It provides cutting-edge services and library collections, award-winning professional theatre and innovative education programs to children and teens. Parents must be accompanied by a child or teen to enter this library.
Services at ImaginOn, with specially-designed spaces, technology, and programs for 12-18 year olds, include the following:

Tech central
A space just for teens where they can use computers, do homework or just simply play games and socialize in a safe environment.

Studio i
An animation, video, editing and music creation room.
Computers with specific programs for recording and editing music are available to use.
Specific workstations with camera, lighting, blue screen and whiteboard capability with the ability to provide animation programming are also available in this area.

The Loft
ImaginOn has a space just for teens called "The loft"
Cafe style booths provide wifi access as well as a place to talk and socialise.
The loft facilities includes books magazines, CDs, DVDs, games and computers and well as regular ongoing after-school programs and informal learning communities for 12 – 18 years olds.
The loft has it's own web site and also offers online services to teens via IM

The Library offers gaming events for all ages featuring next generation consoles and state-of the-art laptops. There are events at many different locations for many different age groups, including childrens, teens and family programs.

Childrens services
Preschoolers can enjoy storytimes where they can listen to stories, sing songs and join in craft activities. Special computers equipped with early literacy software are accessible to introduce this age group to computers and learning.

School aged children
Computers loaded with special software enable children to explore games and write stories in a safe online environment.
Interactive exhibitions in the library enable children to explore in a hands-on environment.

The children’s theatre in run independently but allows children to become involved in theatre or enjoy productions produced locally. The theatre opens its doors to school groups during the school term as well as running regular worshops and summer camps during the school holidays.
There are two theatres at ImaginOn; the McColl Family Theatre which seats 570, and the Wachovia Playhouse which seats 250.