Shared Leadership Reports

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 Chief Executive Officer.

Collections Unlocked: Open Data (2023)

Libraries are the holders of a vast repository of information about their collections, services, members and facilities. All of this data forms a rich vein of knowledge from which valuable insights can be mined in order to best meet community needs and expectations. Library service resources can be better utilised if the PLV were to share their expertise and access to data to ensure this understanding reaches across the state in a democratic way. Investment in open data across the Victorian library sector will prove longitudinally fruitful, allowing staff and stakeholders to harvest
information, undertake analysis, and present useful findings to improve services and maximise ROIs.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Public Libraries: identifying key themes for success (2023)

This research project set out, within the Victorian Public Libraries context, to ‘document what libraries are doing to achieve DEI and to share this information to equip and empower our sector.’ The intention of the report is to communicate, upskill and network stakeholders within the Victorian Public Library sector interested in beginning or expanding their DEI work.

Accessible format.

Future Ready – Inspiring Diverse Library Pathways (2023)

This report serves as an invigorating call to action for current library staff, encouraging them to consider stepping into leadership roles within their organisations. By inspiring staff to take on new responsibilities and roles, we not only enrich professional growth but also cultivate leaders who can guide the field through the challenges and opportunities of the future. Nurturing our talent pool
enables libraries to develop a highly skilled and adaptable workforce capable of meeting the evolving needs of library users into the future.  This report is an introductory guide to inspiring current library professionals to embrace their unique career journeys and providing aspiring professionals with valuable insights into starting a fulfilling career in public libraries.

Referral Pathways: A Toolkit for Library Staff (2023)

Each library service (and sometimes each branch) has developed their own range of referral pathways. Many libraries have excellent templates and toolkits for referrals to their local services, and are doing deep partnership work to enable referrals in from other services. However, best practise is not always being shared and each service is reinventing their approach from scratch. The aim of this work is to provide a framework and a common approach and language for referrals, highlighting the importance of this work and giving a state-wide focus. It builds on the work of the Libraries for Health and Wellbeing – a partnerships toolkit.

The Benefits of Scenario Planning in Libraries (2021)

Scenario planning is an accessible, inclusive and fun process. To organisations willing to invest time and resources, it provides the opportunity to explore viable (or possible) courses of action. A collective culture of imaginative future thinking is promoted across the organisation, from the front desk to the board room.

Community Engagement: An experiment in Design Thinking (2021)

Providing meaningful community engagement is one of the most important yet challenging elements of service delivery in the public library sector. Public libraries are passional about the communities they work for and strive to support the needs of those they serve. However, often we find ourselves limited in our capacity to deliver services that truly embrace our communities’ desires. With growing expectations for public libraries to invest in this space, we are seeking to navigate the complexities of provide adequate levels of engagement and offer a new approach to what is an ongoing dilemma for library professionals. Through library staff engagement, review existing research, interviewing subject matter experts and reviewing existing resources and toolkits, this report aims to identify and address the barriers to adequate community engagement. By using the Design Thinking process throughout this report, the group provides a working model that allows users to experience Design Thinking in action and better understand how it can be used to inspired changes in community engagement.

Environmental Sustainability in Victorian Public Libraries: Supporting our community (2021)

There are already many diverse programs and initiatives being run by libraries that relate to sustainability. The sharing of information and resources about these programs will help more and more libraries to engage in this space and to see the possible steps that can be taken. In the context of the growing number of library communities of practices relating to sustainability, this project has focused on proposing a Public Libraries Victoria sustainability special interest group (SIG) and a resource sharing platform. The Sustainability SIG has already been successfully proposed and established. The resource sharing platform is on its way to being created. Alongside these two key outcomes, this project has also highlighted some of the existing programs being run by Victorian public libraries, linking them back to the global context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and providing a template for further case studies to be created and shared on the resource sharing platform. These case studies illustrate how libraries serve their communities in many different ways and will continue to adapt to the needs of the people accessing their services as environmentally sustainable practices become more embedded in the way we live our lives.

Future Perfect: Best-practice principles for alternative methods of public library service delivery (2021)

This report defines best-practice service delivery as a responsive and adaptive ongoing commitment to the provision of services that support informed, healthy and engaged communities and which are in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It offers examples of creative forms and methods of service delivery in the public library sector, both locally within Australia and internationally. It focuses on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’, and aims to inspire librarians to think outside the box and outside the library building to build services that respond directly to evolving community needs. The case studies presented here are examples of activities that take the library outside its walls to meet community where it is, as well as activities that encourage communities to come back into their library buildings after the disruption of the current pandemic.

Alternative funding & libraries…is it worth it – 2019

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.

Social issues in public libraries: supporting our staff – 2019

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.

Who do we think we are: understanding diversity in the Victorian public library workforce – 2019

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).