ARC grant for co-designing public libraries project


State Library of New South Wales

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded over $200,000 to a team of LRG researchers in collaboration with the State Library of New South Wales and the public library authorities of Albury, Yass and Fairfield in Sydney. The project will run for two years, and investigate how the collective wisdom of community members can be best leveraged in the process of designing new public library spaces, be they whole new buildings or existing spaces in need of refurbishment.… Continue reading “ARC grant for co-designing public libraries project”

‘I Can’t Afford to Buy All the Books I Read’


Reading is dead’ has been a refrain we’ve heard almost as much as ‘The book is dead’, but there’s little evidence to date that, like the book, reading, including leisure reading, is expiring any time soon. Of course, how we read is surely changing. We read text on screens not just for work and study, but increasingly for pleasure and interest. This is likely to have some effect on the way in which we read, and on what we read: whereas in the past ‘leisure reading’ may have conjured up thoughts of curling up with a paperback, nowadays it’s just as likely to be sampling a blog or a newsfeed on a ‘phone’ (though this could still involve curling up, perhaps).… Continue reading “‘I Can’t Afford to Buy All the Books I Read’”

Valuable real estate

Green Square Library, Sydney

COVID has drawn attention to many things, including the way that nowadays libraries exist, and operate, not only in their physical spaces, but also very much online. However, not all their physical services and resources have digital counterparts, nor can they always be substituted with online counterparts that are completely equivalents. During the recent lockdowns and closures, libraries, especially public libraries, have provided their communities with as much continuity of service as they can, often coming up with creative workarounds.… Continue reading “Valuable real estate”

Missions and visions: Do public libraries have a consistent picture of their role?

Professor Philip Hider

The cynic might be of the view that what public libraries set as their official ‘vision’ or ‘mission’ is intended as much for the benefit of their political overseers as it is for their publics. Nevertheless, many public library authorities do publish some sort of statement about how they see themselves contributing to their communities, about their role. Many of these statements can be found somewhere on their website, albeit sometimes in a rather remote corner of it.… Continue reading “Missions and visions: Do public libraries have a consistent picture of their role?”

Public libraries post-COVID

While we continue to research the ways in which libraries are responding to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we might do well to also consider what the situation will be like for libraries once the virus is finally brought under control. It’s unlikely to be the same. Clearly the measures that have been put in place in most countries across the world to ‘flatten the curve’ will have a lasting economic impact, the result of which will almost inevitably see increased pressure on public spending.… Continue reading “Public libraries post-COVID”

Library resources provide experiences as well as information

Library cataloguers have spent a hundred plus years indexing the subjects of books and other resources, but paid relatively little attention to some other aspects, such as their genre. For example, the Library of Congress Subject Headings are pervasive in countless library catalogues, and have been since the first half of the last century, yet the Library of Congress Genre/Form Headings (LCGFT) were only established a few years ago, and are still something of a work in progress.

A series of studies I’m presently carrying out is assessing the applicability of the LCGFT by comparing them with other genre lists, and by comparing their use with that of other terms that have not yet made it into LCGFT.… Continue reading “Library resources provide experiences as well as information”

Special issue of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association

Prof Philip Hider has just written up a guest editorial for an upcoming issue of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association featuring some of the papers presented at the Fifteenth Australasian Conference on Research Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS), held on 28 and 29 October last year at St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra. Philip was chair of the conference’s program committee, with the event being hosted by CSU’s School of Information Studies. The conference’s themes was ‘Towards critical information research, education and practice’, and if ever there was a time for a critical approach this is probably it, with so many competing messages being peddled by various powers around the world.… Continue reading “Special issue of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association”