Public libraries are tremendously important in Australia - they are the heart of many communities supporting literacy, education, community development, business and culture. The Public Libraries Australia 2007 conference provided a great opportunity to share information, build stronger networks and be inspired.
Rivkah Sass - Director, Omaha Public Library, USA, inspired us to always think of the customer and work at changing our priorities to match theirs. She talked about building partnerships with community organisations, understanding our communities and their diversity and changing our processes and services.
Workforce planning to ensure that we are able to recruit to fill future positions was addresses by a number of presentations. The Intergenerational report, released by the Australian Treasury on 2 April (http://www.treasury.gov.au/igr/IGR2007.asp) identifies a reducing workforce with an aging population, falling fertility rates and rising life expectancy. Presentations by Julie Sloan, Director, Julie Sloan Management Pty Ltd, Moira Deslandes, CEO, Volunteering SA and Robert Knight related to this issue.
Shane Cathcart was inspiring with his description of West Torrens Hilton Library’s move from Siege to Sojourn. The development of a new youth strategy at the West Torrens Library Service from 2004 – 2006 focused on understanding their community, developing a basis for discussion of issues with them (including a code of conduct), new ways of engagement and a community support now built on understanding and partnerships.
Christine Mackenzie, CEO, Yarra Plenty Library, also gave an outstanding presentation on Yarra Plenty’s rebirth in the digital age, bringing staff forward with new flexible approaches, building flexibility, using new technologies to enable staff to deliver value added services and using new mechanisms to increase knowledge (such as the unconference).
Papers should be on the web site soon at http://www.pla.org.au/Conf2007/Conf07.htm
Well done Bernie, Geoff, Bill, Janice and Robert.