‘Steady Ships’ in the COVID-19 Crisis: Australian Public Library Responses to the Pandemic

A recent publication in the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association describes the findings of the first of two phases of a major research project undertaken by members of the Charles Sturt University Libraries Research Group. The project team is lead by Dr Jane Garner and Dr Simon Wakeling, with the publishing group …

Assessing the impact and engagement of public libraries’ services for young children and their families

In recent years there has been a growing interest in assessing the impact and engagement of public libraries. Our research is taking a step in that direction by assessing the impact of two library services—provided by Libraries ACT—for young children and their families: (1) Giggle and Wiggle and (2) Story Time. We are studying the …

Qualitative approaches in library research: The art of listening to the untold stories

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Every library user has a story to tell about their experience of visiting a library. Even people who don’t visit libraries have their stories about libraries and why they don’t use them. These stories are …

It’s the ‘vibe’ of it: The complexity of open access policies in Australia

Guest post by Dr Danny Kingsley, Visiting Fellow, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science By now, most people in the academic space have heard of the term ‘open access’, even if understanding of what the term means and levels of engagement or enthusiasm vary. We are a group that is undertaking what …

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 …

“It’s something I always wanted to do”: Serious leisure, self-actualisation and social engagement

I recently published a paper in the Journal of Documentation (Mansourian, 2021) to report the findings from a research project that I have done from 2018 to 2020 in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. In this project, I explored various information activities of serious leisure participants to discover and depict their …

I watch the birdwatcher: An introduction to serious leisure

Yazdan Mansourian, PhD, AALIA My research program is about serious leisure. If you have not heard this term before, you might find it puzzling. This even may look like an oxymoron. How come something is serious and leisurely at the same time? However, it is not as absurd as it looks. Serious leisure includes all …

Defining the value and impact of libraries

Associate Professor Hamid Jamali Value and impact are terms that are sometimes loosely defined and used. Assessing and providing evidence of the value and impact of libraries is something that many researchers and practitioners, at least over the last two decades, have tried to address. The reason for great attention to value and impact has …

Unearthing controversies in Special Collections

Dr Jessie Lymn There’s an oft-cited question that gets asked when delving into the bowels of academic library special collections – “just what is so special about special collections?“. For university libraries especially, the special collections (or rare books, or manuscripts, or many other titles) are where some of the most socially, culturally and economically …

A Social Worker in the Library – a new article tells the Melbourne story

Having seen news articles like this one: ‘Libraries start new chapter to support vulnerable’ , I became interested in the role that public libraries can play in working with vulnerable members of our communities. If Melbourne City Libraries had employed a social worker to help library staff with this role, I thought there must be …

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