15 December, 2008

2008 - a good year!

Butterfly wall at Lalor

Christmas and the New Year is a time of reflection on the past year and a time to look forward to new things. The library tends to do this at the end of the financial year when we prepare our Annual Report but I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the major events for 2008.

The major undertaking was the implementation of our self service system and RFID (Radio frequency identification) which was completed at all branches by February. The self check units have proven popular with borrowers, who like the ease and speed of checkout. The move to self service has freed staff up to offer more services and programs, which have included reading programs for adults and children, internet and web 2.0 training, and arts and cultural programs.
Cultural Diversity week was celebrated in March with highlights that included world music at Eltham, a Vietnamese dragon dance at Lalor and Vlanaga Khoza who brought African rhythms to Ivanhoe.

A beautiful butterfly mosaic was created for Lalor library by the NEAMI group, a provider of community mental health rehabilitation and support services. The design reflects the cultural diversity and inclusion of all people in the Whittlesea community; butterflies were chosen as a symbol of freedom and renewal. This group is currently working on a project for Watsonia library.

Our reading programs continue to grow and we support 51 book clubs in the region. Over 800 children joined in the Summer Reading Program, which encourages kids to keep reading over the summer holidays.

From us all at Yarra Plenty - happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year and this blog will be back in 09!

08 December, 2008

Shanachie tour Downunder

Every so often something new comes along that grabs people's imagination and gets them thinking in different ways. We have just experienced that with the visit by 2 Dutch librarians from Delft.

Shanachies were travelling storytellers who moved from village to village in Ireland in olden times, earning their board and lodging by telling stories. And that is the inspiration for Erik and Jaap, who have travelled around the USA in 2007 and now Australia. They landed in Perth, flew to Brisbane, then picked up their campervan and drove down the Pacific and Princes Highway to Melbourne, visiting libraries, talking to librarians and running workshops. They have videoed their experiences and their adventures are posted on their website. They are recording how libraries are engaging their communities and preparing for the future.

I wrote about the marvellous Delft Public Library - DOK - a few weeks ago, it is an amazing library, some say the most modern public library in the world. The idea of the library as a concept centre, a place where people can try out new things, explore new ideas and have fun - this is the aim of DOK.

Erik and Jaap ran a workshop at the State Library and enthused the audience with the stories they captured - and the story of DOK. It was great to have them here.