Australian public libraries are powering smart cities through award-winning design, providing technology hotspots, assisting economic prosperity, enabling creative industries to network and grow, building a literate nation through offering informal and formal education opportunities, providing digital access with modern technology and services to assist and engage new migrants and all members of the community.
In January 2016 the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA) and National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) commissioned I & J Management Services Pty. Ltd. to update the guidelines for Australian Public Libraries – Beyond a Quality Service: Strengthening the Social Fabric, Standards and Guidelines for Australian Public Libraries, 2nd ed. 2012, produced by Libraries Alive! Pty Ltd.
This submission examines cyber-safety and seniors focusing on the advantages and the barriers to being online and the role that public libraries already play in training for digital literacy and support for senior Australians in the online world. It describes examples of the current delivery of services such as Senior’s Internet Training and offers some suggestions to increase the level of digital literacy training for seniors, for consideration for the future.
Australian Library and Information Association is responding to the Early Childhood Learning element of the Productivity Commission Issues Paper, with the aim of: securing explicit acknowledgement of the role of Australian public libraries in early childhood development in the final report to Government (31 October 2014), and encouraging discussion to identify further opportunities for the national network of 1500 public libraries to be used by federal, state and local government to support early childhood learning provision.
ALIA welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to online safety for children but we are concerned that creating a new position may not achieve as much as investing in existing programs and activities.
ALIA supports the development of a new model for minimising broadband data transmission costs for public information accessed through public institutions such as libraries and for non-commercial purposes.
It was also noted that there is a need for assistance from public library staff for users of electronic services, both for accessing government information and for everyday online tasks.
Over the last 20 years, public libraries have increased their role in the digital space, enhancing people’s online experiences, helping people connect to this new virtual world, and providing a safety net for those who are in danger of being left behind.
While government departments and agencies can drive their own delivery of egovernment, take up by the public is something which has to be encouraged and assisted. Public libraries are well positioned to assist with this transition, given the additional resources needed to do so (primarily staff time and skills).
This paper is submitted as feedback to the Productivity Commission’s Issues Paper relating to the National Education Evidence Base. ALIA comes to this from a number of perspectives: as a member of the informal coalition of organisations promoting a national early literacy strategy for Australia; as the peak body for libraries, with members in the school, academic and public library networks; and as an Australian Research Institute supporting deeper knowledge and evidencebased practice in the library and information sector.
ALIA National 2014 Conference, 15-19 September 2014 Melbourne : together we are stronger