State Library of Victoria
As a Melbournian, I have visited the State Library of Victoria (SLV) many times, as a student doing research, as a mum taking her son for a visit, as a book lover attending the Children’s Book Festival and as a student of Library and Information Services. I have always valued the library’s history and role in providing public access to its beautiful spaces and extraordinary collections. I knew about some of the programs and services the library offered, particularly with regard to education and online learning. However, I was completely unaware of the library’s role in supporting public libraries throughout Victoria. I was fascinated to learn about the library’s partnerships and contributions to the Victorian Public Library network and the library’s involvement in research projects like “Libraries Building Communities” and publication of reports like “Victorian Public Libraries 2030”. I loved listening to how the SLV is helping regional and metropolitan libraries deliver improved library services to Victorian communities and how, through cooperation, collaboration, training, joint projects and advocacy the SLV is building a powerful public library network. The discussion prompted me to think about the importance of partnerships and connection with other libraries. What sort of relationships could I encourage or foster as a teacher librarian working in schools? The term “joint use library” was new to me. Finding out that Carolyn Springs Public Library is utilised as the local secondary school’s library (and that the principal of the school resides there) was surprising yet it inspired me to think about more sharing space and resources, particularly when funding is limited. School libraries that have limited services and collections, particularly online resources could make connections with local library services to improve their service and facilitate access to resources. Teacher librarians could encourage students and staff to become members of their state and local library or mutual benefit, collaborate with local libraries on joint projects and events.
The Age Library
Visiting The Age Library strengthened my understanding of the vitality and relevance of the public library service, particularly in marginalised communities. It was inspiring to see such a busy, well used library that catered for such a diverse and ever changing community. Working in private school education, it was powerful to be reminded of the core purpose of libraries – free & equitable access to information facilities, technology, resources and services. Hume Libraries are providing excellent services to their patrons. Like most government agencies, Hume Libraries develop, publish and follow a detailed strategic plan and have done so in the document “Learning Together 2030”. I was interested to learn that the library service is required by Hume City Council to continually evaluate its service and has recently published a review entitled “Being the Best We can”. This document outlines certain challenges and areas for development like community outreach, promotion of library services, and use of social media and how to best employ evidence based practice. School libraries are often required to align with their school’s mission and provide statements that document their role, vision and purpose. It is important to make these documents available to all stakeholders. As a teacher librarian it is necessary to rationalise and be accountable for many aspects of school library services, facilities, programs and budget, therefore it is important to develop policies and strategic plans that are forward thinking and purposeful; that will guide and outline their delivery of services to the school community. It was helpful to make these connections about justification, responsibility and accountability of services. In schools, we also aim to provide pertinent and excellent services and programs to our school community. I needed to be reminded that it is important for a library not to remain static but to constantly review its practises and services to best fulfil its purpose.