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inCite : May 2005 : Making news

Making news

Selected reprints from newspapers and magazines in recent months

Spatial relations

Advertiser (Adelaide), 9 May, by Michael Diggins

Instead of the often drab surroundings that libraries have traditionally provided readers, cutting edge designs are now taking over - and challenging convention. Architects and interior designers are producing state-of-the-art designs that are both eye-catching and practical.

Hassell Architects is a South Australian entrant in the 2005 Interior Design Awards, nominated for its work on the Playford Library at Munno Para Shopping Centre. The firm has utilised space, light and furniture to create an environment unexpected in libraries. Judges are impressed with the move away from the traditional library to one that is 'very stylised and quite contemporary'.

Can you meet the challenge?

Courier Mail (Brisbane), 9 May, by Patrick Watson

A recent survey found that no Indigenous Year 3 child in one Northern Territory community met the national reading standard. To address the issue of low literacy rates as well as poor health, a partnership between Brisbane's Riverbend Books, the Fred Hollows Foundation and Ian Thorpe's Foundation for Youth Trust created the Riverbend Readers Challenge.

Participants in the program pay $5 and challenge themselves to read ten books in five and a half months. Those who finish the ten books receive an autographed certificate from swimmer Ian Thorpe. Last year 3859 children and 112 schools took part in the program. After negotiations with the Australian Booksellers Association, publisher Allen & Unwin and the Fred Hollows Foundation, money raised enabled $50 000 worth of books to be donated to the Jawoyn community, east of Katherine in the Northern Territory. The resources were used to help support their Literacy for Life program.

Now in its second year, the program has been expanded to include adults and community groups.

One book makes it to mystery suburb

Courier Mail, 7 May, by Rosemary Sorensen

Kimberley Starr's novel The Kingdom where nobody dies has been chosen as the focus of this year's One Book One Brisbane campaign. The 35-year-old writer is currently on maternity leave from the University of Queensland where she is due to complete a Master of Philosophy in creative writing.

One of six books shortlisted for the honour, Starr's novel gained 26 per cent of 5200 votes registered at council offices and libraries or online. She won the Queensland Premier's Emerging Writer's Prize in 2003 when the book was in manuscript form. The prize resulted in publication of the novel last year by University of Queensland Press.

Reading into user-pays

Melbourne Yarra Leader, 4 May, by Maria Bervanakis

A user-pays system has not been ruled out for Melbourne's only free lending library after a failed bid to secure sponsorship in its first year. The City Library's mid-year budget review for July to December 2004 revealed its management committee had failed to attract $450 000 in sponsorship provided for in the original 2004-2005 budget.

Melbourne City Council and the Council for Adult Education, the library's operators, have injected an additional $40 000 into the library, bringing the total cost of operating the library in its first year to $2.6 million. The cash injection comes on top of other revenue-raising measures, including closing on Sundays and increasing reservation collection and interlibrary loan fees. User fees are planned for internet access and e-mail.

Dying to be efficient

The Australian, 31 March, by David Uren

Arts companies believe the Federal Government's 'efficiency dividend' is starving them of funds. The dividend is a formula that imposes annual budget cuts on every public sector agency, including arts companies that receive government subsidies.

The Australia Council argues that its programs to support the arts and creativity are being 'gradually but steadily eroded' by the efficiency dividend. Last year the cost to the nation's leading cultural institutions - the National Museum, National Gallery, National maritime Museum, National Archives and National Library - was between $200 000 and $500 000 each.

The squeeze will soon be tighter - the May budget will increase from 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent the savings all publicly funded bodies have to find each year.

Council services set to be privatised

Courier Mail, 31 March, by Chris Griffith

Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman, speaking at an infrastructure summit, flagged a radical plan for the private sector to fund, build and operate new council libraries, health centres, swimming pools and other sporting facilities.

Cr Newman said the private sector would be asked to fund and build key council works needed in the next 20 years as Brisbane's population grew. The consortium that built the facilities would then have a chance to run them profitably. For example, a new council library might incorporate a coffee shop, high-speed broadband internet and other community facilities.

New chapter opens in fight to keep library alive

Albert & Logan News, 30 March

Public objection to Beaudesert Shire Council's decision to close the Logan Valley Library has resulted in the establishment of Friends of the Library, a subcommittee of the Logan Village Community Centre, devoted to saving the library.

The council plans to replace the Logan Village, Rathdowney and Tamborine Village libraries with a mobile library. Residents are angry that the council's decision was taken without public consultation.

Staff harvest web for history

Canberra Times, 28 March

Legal deposit provisions in the Copyright Act require print publishers to provide a copy of all published titles to the National Library, but this legislation has not been updated to cover electronic publications. A proposal to impose similar restrictions on electronic publishers was put to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts more than two years ago.

Negotiations between the Department for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the Attorney-General's Department have since failed to move the process forward. The main obstacle has been the protection of electronic publishers' copyright when their website material is archived and made available online. Other obstacles include the need to limit the costs to publishers of complying with mandatory requirements, and to accommodate the commercial imperatives of online publishers who charge for subscriptions to access their content.

In the meantime the National Library, as the official national documenter of Australian heritage, continues to take snapshots of the content of Australian websites to store on its Pandora network. The archived content does not carry a link to the live site but is captured and stored as a historical record, with the publisher's permission. The British Library, the US Library of Congress and the Singapore National Library have all expressed interest in using the National Library's Pandora system.

Treasures put online for the world to see

Daily Telegraph, 28 March, by Troy Lennon

As part of a worldwide trend, the State Library of New South Wales is putting many of its treasures online so that they can be accessed on the internet anywhere in the world.

Items from the library's $1.5 billion collection, dubbed the 'DNA of Australian culture', will be gradually added to the free interactive 'At Mitchell' site. As well as the original items, the website features 'interactive journeys' and additional information. Among the first items online are Sir Joseph Banks' journal from his voyage on board the Endeavour, a selection of some of Joern Utzon's preliminary designs for the Sydney Opera House and rare early maps of Australia. A special Kids At Mitchell section will soon be added to the website.

Library back on right track

Frankston Standard, 28 March, by Glenn Osborne

Victoria's only railside library, Frankston Library Express, has celebrated its first birthday. After almost closing seven months ago, the library service, which operates on the station's concourse on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30am to 8:30am, has proved to be a great success.

After 12 months' operation the service boasts 147 new members and in excess of 3200 loans. Its near demise last year followed failed attempts to secure corporate sponsorship. However, an overwhelming level of public support highlighted the value and importance of the service to the community. As a result, the council agreed to continue it for the rest of the financial year.

Getting in first

Courier Mail, 19 March, by Michael Liedtke

Google and its rivals are all hoping to help consumers and businesses to organise the digital information that's increasingly glutting their hard drives.

Google has just released new software for scanning hard drives for information contained on Adobe Acrobat's portable document format (PDF), as well as music and video files. It will also scan content in various e-mail applications.

While Yahoo Inc, Microsoft Corp and Ask Jeeves Inc all have test versions of competing products, Google is the first to launch its desktop search product.

Bill would make libraries tell what kids read

Portland Press Herald, 18 March, by Paul Carrier

Librarians and civil libertarians have joined forces to condemn legislation that would force public libraries in Maine to disclose to parents what books their children have checked out. Critics of the Bill told a legislative committee the measure would needlessly violate the privacy of young readers, force libraries to make potentially tough decisions about who should have access to records, and discourage young people from using libraries at a time when society is trying to encourage them to read.

The Bill would also affect loan records at the Maine State Library, the Legislature's law library and all libraries operated by the University of Maine and the Maine Maritime Academy. Under existing state law, records at public and university libraries are confidential, regardless of a patron's age. The Bill would eliminate that safeguard for minors, giving parents access to library records for all children up to the age of 17. Similar laws have been passed in other US states and are being considered in New Jersey and Wyoming.

Study lauds local reading program

Preston Post Times, 16 March

A children's program at Darebin libraries has been held up as an example to libraries elsewhere. The Sponge Club, which began in June 2003, was designed to introduce children aged 7-12 to reading and libraries. A report by the Libraries Building Communities study in Victoria revealed that about 6 in 10 Victorians now use public libraries. Darebin libraries manager, Katrina Knox, said the report acknowledged the value of libraries in communities and showcased the Sponge Club as an example of developing a reading culture. The report details advice for other libraries to introduce similar programs and is available at

Svendsen moves in

Southern Star, 16 March

Literacy is the focus at Mansfield State School this year with award-winning children's author Mark Svendsen taking up residence at the school. Adopting the One School One Author project, the school will receive visits throughout the year from Mr Svendsen who will work with pupils on writing techniques.

Library has children's reading problem licked

Townsville Bulletin, 12 March

An experimental program in some American school libraries is using dogs to assist children who have trouble learning to read. Eleven children from Years 1-5 gather for half an hour each Monday morning in a library in Utah to read aloud to dogs. Baltimore psychologist James Lynch says there is evidence to support such a program - the listener is non-judgmental, allowing the child to focus on the task without fear, and no doubt rewarding any effort with an approving wag of the tail.

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