Public Library Services Coordination Committee Southern Region Session – 6 November 2006 Alice Springs Town Council – Andy McNeil Room Attendance Jo McGill NTL David Rolfe DCM – F

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Public Library Services Coordination Committee Southern Region Session – 6 November 2006 Alice Springs Town Council – Andy McNeil Room Attendance Jo McGill NTL David Rolfe DCM – F Powered By Docstoc
					Public Library Services Coordination Committee

Southern Region Session – 6 November 2006
Alice Springs Town Council – Andy McNeil Room


Jo McGill (NTL), David Rolfe (DCM – Facilitator), Fran Kilgariff (ASTC), Meredith
Campbell (ASTC), Mark Blackburn (ASTC), Denise Senior (ASPL) Birgit Nielsen
(ASPL), Wally Litvensky (Ltyentye Apurte CC), Bernice (Ltyentye Apurte CL), Louise
Riddell (TCTC), Barb (TCPL), Jay Gibson (NTL), Glenys Aird (NTL)

Jo McGill opened the workshop and provided participants with an overview of:

   o Purpose of the workshop
   o Role of Northern Territory Library
   o Role of the Public Library Service Coordination Committee

The workshop was facilitated by David Rolfe, Senior Consultant, Department of the
Chief Minister.

David Rolfe asked participants to consider
  ● the services provided by public libraries to the community and how they might
      change over the next 10 years
  ● the changing nature of the community the libraries serve
  ● what might impact on the services provided.

Key Issues:

Participants discussed the need for services to be relevant to the community being
served. Services to youth and the aged were specifically mentioned, but it was noted
that all age groups need to be catered for. Services to youth were seen as critical to
the future of public libraries. Changing demographic patterns were acknowledged.

Duplication of service
ASTC was particularly concerned about the duplication of libraries in the town and
the (perceived) inefficiencies this engenders. ASTC saw every $ spent on a small
special library as being a $ that was not being spent on the public library
(“Ratepayers are subsidising special libraries.”) Joint-use (public library and
education library) was a suggested model, especially in remote communities. Public
libraries complement school (and other educational) libraries. Better value for
expenditure (ROI) might be achieved if special libraries were accessible to members
of the general public. The collections held in the different libraries were not
significantly duplicated.
Library services to the Indigenous community
The public library (in AS) is one of the few public spaces that is shared between all
cultures – it is seen as neutral ground. Physical space in the library must be sufficient
and suitably organised to allow the different user groups to make use of the library
service without alienating each other. Bylaws are used to regulate behaviour and

Information Technology
Concerns were raised about the cost of providing internet access, especially to non-
ratepayers. The use of video teleconferencing was suggested as a means of
delivering training to remote users. The possibility of connecting public libraries to the
fibre optic link used by tertiary institutions was raised. Participants were unsure about
future developments in ICT (eg nextG). The interactive nature of new technologies,
especially for young people, was raised as an issue of relevance to future library

User pays
Concerns were raised about the cost of providing library services, especially to non-
ratepayers. The implementation of wireless technology was seen by one library
service as problematic from a user pays perspective, as well as having “user
management” issues. It was suggested that the network needs to set user pays

There was general agreement that a legislative framework would clarify the roles and
responsibilities of stakeholders, the ownership of resources, the funding framework,
and expectations and obligations of service providers and the NTG. Defining
governance issues was also seen as a desirable outcome of legislation. Some
concern was expressed about the inappropriateness of current By-laws.

Local Government Reform implications
This will impact on the current funding formula and the relationship between NTL and
local government. The current funding formula is likely to be extended for a further 12
months to allow changes to bed down. This gives NTL a “window of opportunity” to
develop relevant models of delivery in small communities (eg standard, virtual,
mobile, joint use). It was felt that NTL should lobby to include CPI in future funding

Participants believed that sufficient and appropriately trained staff is critical to the
delivery of public library services. Professional isolation is an important issue. Half-
yearly meetings and induction programs are important tools for developing library
staff. Current average age of library workers in the NT is 47 years. Workforce /
succession planning is critical to the continued success of public libraries. NTL and
LGANT could develop a workforce management plan. Library staff skills of research
and information broker are highly valued.

Marketing and promotion
Participants felt that library staff have a lack of skills in this area and a need for
training and development was identified. Library staff need to be proactively
promoting the library service in the community. Word of mouth promotion is the most
effective means of promoting the library service to Indigenous users.
Community development
Participants did not focus on this role of public libraries. However it was noted that
public libraries are places of recreation and information; that they must be safe and
welcoming, that the physical infrastructure must cater for all users and the resources
and services should be relevant to the community. “Any value-adding must be done
by someone other than local government”.

Some deficiencies with public transport in Alice Springs were identified as a possible
reason for lack of use of the library by young people.

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Description: Future of Public Libraries