The Shared Leadership Program is one of the State Library / Public Libraries Victoria Statewide Public Library Development Projects.
A list of projects from past participants can be found below. For earlier reports please contact the PLV Executive Officer.
Public libraries are a vital community asset – providing free access to information, facilitating the development of twenty-first century literacy skills, and supporting social connections and lifelong learning for all.
Approximately 80% of operating expenditure is funded by local councils. The remainder comes from state government funding. Growth in local contribution has outpaced state government, leaving some councils struggling to meet the funding requirements of their libraries.
With more people are using public libraries than ever before with increasing community demand for longer opening hours, flexible spaces, expanded programs, and access to online services, the purpose of this report is to identify the types of alternate funding Victorian public libraries are already engaging with and explore their potential challenges and opportunities.
A library staff exchange program is an opportunity for participants to work at a different library service for a fixed period of time. This will enable participants to exchange skills, knowledge and best practice between the host workplace and their primary workplace.
The aims of our investigation into a library staff exchange program were to:
- investigate how a professional development exchange program would be implemented across Victoria,
- research existing staff exchange programs in Australia and internationally, as well as education sectors,
- establish if library staff would be interested in participating in a staff exchange program and their motivations to do so,
- create a series of key recommendations including guiding principles for the participant, the host workplace and the primary workplace.
Public libraries are safe spaces, where everyone is welcome to seek information, entertainment, community engagement and shelter without the need for a transaction or invitation. ‘Everyone’ includes members of our communities experiencing social issues (such as homelessness, mental health problems and addiction), who sometimes require support beyond what library staff are able to safely provide within the bounds of their roles and professional skill sets.
This report looks at how Libraries can better support and empower public library staff in engaging with social issues. It provides insight into what is being done in public libraries in Victoria and beyond to better support staff in engaging with social issues in their communities. Offering case studies of public library programs, hiring practices and policy development, it aims to provide guidance for how library managers can better integrate current practices and create meaningful positive change in their organisations to benefit library staff and the public they serve.
By asking Victorian public library staff “who do we think we are?”, this project intended to capture and evaluate the current state of diversity and notions of belonging within the Victorian public library workforce. Of note, anecdotally, the common stereotype or perception of who works in a public library has been female-centric and Anglo-Australian which coincides with stereotypes from the US. The questionnaire was designed to assist in gauging the public library sector’s current staffing landscape and determine if perception matched reality.
Markedly, the research will provide an audit of the landscape as it stands and will assist industry leaders and public library managers to make informed decisions around diversity and inclusion as part of their workforce development strategies. It will also demonstrate the ways in which diversity, inclusion and belonging contribute to a successful workforce as it is understood that “without inclusion there’s often a diversity backlash” (Rashid and Sherbin, 2017).