Annual Report 2021-2022


In 2021-22 Libraries Tasmania

Contributed to the Department of Education’s Learners First agenda

with informal, beyond-the classroom learning opportunities for children and young people. Libraries Tasmania ran just over 1,300 early learning programs including Baby Play and Rock & Rhyme sessions for babies and toddlers, and Storytime sessions for pre-schoolers, encouraging parents and carers to introduce their children to language, stories and books from the earliest age. We provided 220 school holiday programs during the year, attracting just over 2,700 participants. Our TALIS team provided library management support to 184 Tasmanian Government Schools and systems support to eight TAFE libraries. DoE’s eight regional joint-use libraries with co-located school and public library services continued to be an effective model providing benefits to the local school students with access to a broad range of library resources, as well as delivering essential library and information services to all age groups across a regional community.

Facilitated and supported adult learning

with 12,130 individuals participating in 1,870 lifelong learning courses (not including digital inclusion programs). We introduced a new Lifelong Learning Information Service (LLIS) across our public library network under the State Government’s Adult Learning Strategy (2020-23) to help people find a learning activity that suits their needs across the expansive array of courses and providers. We offered courses on new and diverse topics to entice people who may not have previously used our services. Sessions include Storytelling through Collage, Robotics, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics sessions, Crafternoon, using assistive technology, repairing old books, cheesemaking, tax help, Coffee, cake and computers, digital photography, author talks and many more. We supported 540 individuals to improve their literacy skills through one to-one learning with trained volunteer literacy tutors. We confirmed our critical role in lifting Tasmania’s adult literacy levels and commitment to 26TEN’s work in this space by representing the Tasmanian Government in the Australian Government’s Inquiry into adult literacy and its importance, as well providing a submission to the Tasmanian Literacy Advisory Panel for a Tasmanian community-wide literacy framework.

Managed State Library and Tasmanian Archives collections for future access

with items across 21 kilometres of shelving packed and ready to relocate to the new purpose-built archives repository at Geilston Bay. Tasmanian Federation data was added to the Tasmanian Names Index (with approaching 1.3 million entries) representing 220,000 individuals who were born from 1900–1919, or who died or were married from 1900–1930, and 23,300 deeds of land grants records to Tasmanian colonists from 1832–1935. We conserved nearly 1,180 items/series from our archival collections including over 1,000 rolls of plans from the former Public Works Department. We digitised just over 1,900 analogue audio/visual items to digital formats with dedicated State Government ongoing funding of $150,000 per year. Newly digitised footage includes two Tasmanian tourism promotional tapes from 1987, “Tasmanian Experience, It’s a Temptation” from the Tasmanian Film Corporation, and “Tasmanian Trout Fishing Holiday” from Tourism Tasmania.

Increased engagement with our cultural collections

with our multi-year “GET CUR!OUS” campaign and another successful Stories After Dark signature event held in Hobart attracting over 2 000 intrigued members of the public. The event held during Dark MOFO in June had the heritage-listed 91 Murray Street building’s walls, ceilings, floors and stairwells adorned with projected digital archival images. Visitors were treated to visual art displays from the collections and performance art including a theatrical performance depicting Lucy Benson, Australia’s first female conductor, telling the story of The Toreador play in the Allport gallery. We delved deeper into submissions inspired by items from our heritage collections from last year’s 91 Stories communityled online exhibition which received over 11,600 online views. This year we featured five stories from the public submissions the first in a series to highlight these treasures from Tasmania’s history, and the people’s stories that they represent. 24 Department of Education Annual Report 2021–22 We hosted two exhibitions that offered a glimpse into the lives and strength of the continuing culture that defines Lutruwita’s / Tasmania’s First People: Vision of a Palawa featured the work of Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Rodney Gardner; and The Lanney Pillar, installation celebrated the “extraordinary life” of William Lanney (1835-1869) created by the late Tasmanian filmmaker Roger Scholes and Tasmanian Aboriginal writer Professor Greg Lehman. Two smaller exhibitions commemorated two significant anniversaries – 100 years of Cadbury at Claremont in Tasmania and 150 years of Tasmanian Railways, with the latter presented at 13 libraries across Tasmania as a touring exhibition. We raised the profile of the State Library and Tasmanian Archive family history records with an almost fully-subscribed events program during Family History Month in August 2021. Guest speaker historical talks were livestreamed and included renowned artist, writer, curator and Trawlwoolway woman Dr Julie Gough, who presented the talk “Missing in action – Aboriginal people across the ‘settled’ districts of Van Diemen’s Land.” The Program also featured Ros Escot, speaking on “Using DNA to solve family history mysteries”, and Dianne Snowden speaking on “Remembering Convict Women and Orphan School Children.” We exceeded our target of 1,200,000 visits to our archive and heritage website pages by 27 per cent and saw a 200 per cent increase in State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog readership –attributed to increased promotion through Libraries Tasmania’s client newsletter, social media and radio interviews.

Connected communities

through 10 and 50 year anniversary celebrations: at Bridgewater Library and Launceston Library, respectively bringing staff, volunteers and locals together to reflect on the libraries’ histories and the special role they play in people’s lives and their communities. To coincide with birthday celebrations at Bridgewater Library, new Aboriginal artwork was installed in the library titled LIBRARIES TASMANIA 26 Department of Education Annual Report 2021–22 “Communities on Kutalayna” created by Aboriginal artists Leanne Pelikan and Kylie Dickson featuring five suspended woven baskets that represent the five Aboriginal communities in the Jordan River area. Friends of Launceston Library met to reflect on 50 years of partnership between volunteers, staff and local community partners. Glenorchy Library hosted 13 stall holders over its three-day expo held during Mental Health Week in October 2021. The expo was attended by 160 members of the public and raised awareness of the importance of mental health. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra performed at Kinimathatakinta/George Town Community Hub and Launceston Library as part of their community roadshow, attracting high visitor numbers from a range of ages and backgrounds.

Delivered programs through outreach

to where the people are, including Rock & Rhyme and Storytime sessions delivered at Child and Family Learning Centres located at Beaconsfield, Clarence Plains, Bridgewater and New Norfolk as well as at Green Point’s Early Learning Discovery Centre, Department of Education Annual Report 2021–22 25 Beaconsfield Child Care Centre and at Glenorchy Council’s Children’s Gig in the Gardens event. Glenorchy Library delivered a Little Bang Discovery Club, four-week STEAM program, to Chigwell and ptunarra Child and Family Learning Centres. The hands-on program allowed children between ages three to five and their accompanying carers to combine everyday objects and experiences with genuine scientific enquiry methods. We hosted more pop-up libraries with events held at: Smithton for Circular Head Council’s Harmony Day community event, Devonport’s 2022 Rotary Motor Show and Dementia Prevention and Wellbeing Expo as well as at Glenorchy’s Northgate Shopping Centre. Events like these provide incentives for new users to become Libraries Tasmania members and borrow physical items available at the displays, as well as learning how to browse and borrow the extensive range of eResources available anytime.

Collaborated with our national counterparts,

for example we remained a highly active contributor to NED (National eDeposit) and participated in Untapped the Australian Literary Heritage Project as a National State and Territory Libraries Australasia member. This latter national collaboration saw 160 out-of-print Australian books of national significance digitised.  As a leader in providing adult literacy support in a library setting, we established a new national Australian Libraries and Information Association Adult Literacy Group for library and information professionals. We responded to the growing issue of misinformation and continued to deepen our knowledge in the emerging field of Media and Information Literacy. Former Libraries Tasmania’s Executive Director, Liz Jack presented on the topic at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 86th World Library and Information Congress. We actively participated in national groups, including the Australian Media Literacy Alliance for which we are the current representative for National and State Libraries Australasia and the Australian Public Library Alliance.

Supported diversity, inclusion and access

with improved discoverability interfaces including a new Libraries Tasmania Lending App, contemporary shelving and interactive touch screens in several libraries that resulted in 92.6 per cent of members reporting that they found what they were looking for. The demand for English Conversation Groups continued with just under 400 programs offered for culturally and linguistically diverse clients. We promoted and celebrated diversity during Harmony Week with some locations offering multilingual Storytime sessions. We purchased 587 bilingual board and picture book titles for the children’s collection which saw loan rates quadruple since bilingual titles were brought into the children’s lending collection in early 2021. We marked International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in May 2022 with displays and talks, and promoted a list of LGBTIQ+ related eBooks and audiobooks from our online lending collection during Pride Month. We introduced a gender-neutral title field for new memberships and enabled 36 former non-users to become Libraries Tasmania members by introducing a new user profile for those without a permanent address. Several frontline library staff from Hobart Library participated in training that provided insight and practical tools for staff who encounter people living with and under the stress of homelessness. We continued to support people with disability or special needs and introduced a weekly sensory-friendly hour at Glenorchy Library, offered free use of library spaces and technology for “The Lab’s” technology clubs for children on the autism spectrum, used Lexia (online literacy tool) for adult learners to access tutoring from home, installed new shelving and reconfigured existing library layouts to make it easier for wheelchair users to navigate around and access lending items and computers.

Improved services and facilities

with new after-hours return chutes installed at seven libraries, new plaster and paint work at Bruny Online Access Centre, an accessible toilet installed at Ulverstone Library, replacement of outdated and inefficient shelving at Cygnet, Hobart, Rosny, St Helens and Westbury Libraries and the first major revamp to Smithton and Exeter Libraries in over 50 years. The refurbished library spaces at both Smithton and Exeter Libraries includes new shelving, carpet and paint work creating a more modern look and feel. Changes to existing configurations including rearranging the collections resulted in an improved children’s area, greater space around shelving to improve accessibility, new seating areas and device charging station. Staff participated in workshops on providing excellent client experiences and service and how to embed this in what we do, and continued efforts to improve the client experience by undertaking service evaluation research using user experience techniques such as client journey mapping and service blueprinting.

Improved digital skills, access and inclusion

by delivering 1,900 digital inclusion programs to just over 4,800 individuals through our digital skills programs. Seventy-four per cent of participants said that they felt more confident using digital technology after receiving support from our staff or volunteers. Sessions included our popular basic computer and technology courses as well as new topics such as, how to stop unwanted calls to your mobile, planning your digital legacy, understanding and using QR Codes, the Check-In TAS App and accessing MyHealth Record. We improved our website accessibility score by 13 per cent and made all our website electronic documents accessible. 130 staff members completed Digital Accessibility Awareness training with 70 participating in further digital accessibility professional learning.

Committed to reconciliation

with our First Nations peoples, with staff engaging in cultural awareness training through the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and working with Tasmanian Aboriginal communities to bring Aboriginal stories and culture to the fore through our public spaces, collections, programs and services. A particular highlight during National Reconciliation Week library network celebrations was a collaboration with Reconciliation Tasmania’s ‘From Our Heart to Yours’ campaign and Launceston Library who hosted 60 children in canvas art school holiday workshops with a local Aboriginal elder and Aunty Judith-Rose Thomas. We partnered with Reconciliation Tasmania for their Youth Speakout 2022 campaign and ran school holiday programs for young people in Years 5-12 which focussed on engaging young people into civic life, particularly regarding Indigenous issues of the day.

Set the scene for the future

with our new Strategic Directions 2022-24 and a bold new vision and commitment that: “All Tasmanians are connected, resilient, creative and curious thinkers, enriched by the State’s libraries and archives.” We confirmed what guides us including: our position in the Department of Education, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and conventions on the Rights of the Child, commitment to evidence-based practice and our place in the global community.

Acquired significant items for the Tasmanian heritage collection

including Art in Australia magazine series from 1916 to 1942 including the rare war-time issues; artworks for the Allport Museum and Library of Fine Art (see Other Annual Reports – Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts Management Committee); extensive archives from the Tasmanian Baptist Union (1830s); a commonplace book that belonged to Lilius Murray of Hobart Town including two unpublished poems by James Knox, “Hobart Town Poet” (1836); family papers, photographs and transparencies of important Tasmanian watercolourist Patricia Giles; the journal of 12-year-old Francis James Ashburner, covering an 85-day voyage from Launceston to London (1859-1860) and records of the Launceston Bank for Savings, Hobart Savings Bank and related and subsequent financial institutions.

Improved prison library services

at Ron Barwick facility at Risdon Prison and removed old and damaged items from the lending collection. These were replaced with 700 new book titles, including new magazine titles, as well as more stock for the Books to CD literacy program – prisoners record reading a children’s book onto a CD for their family to help maintain family connections. Literacy programs continue to benefit prisoners, with 96 assisted learner license tests undertaken in the last 12 months.

Provided quality volunteer experiences

to our 600 plus volunteers who gave 41,150 hours of their time as home library couriers, adult literacy tutors, learning mentors or general volunteers – many providing digital support. We proudly recognised two of our volunteers selected as 2022 Tasmanian Volunteering Awards finalists, along with another volunteer who celebrated 25 years of service to Libraries Tasmania. We saw our overall volunteer numbers stabilise; however, volunteer numbers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. A total of 133 online volunteers participated in projects via Digivol, a crowdsourcing platform used by many institutions worldwide to transcribe digitised content. This work contributed to over 45,000 Libraries Tasmania items indexed and validated since we commenced using online volunteers in 2018.

Contributed to Tasmania’s COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

response and helped over 1,900 people boost their digital skills to access vital COVID-19 related information, book vaccinations, download digital vaccination certificates and access the Check-In TAS App. Queenstown Library at the West Coast Hub was fundamental in the fight against COVID-19 serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site in early 2022 with over 1 000 vaccinations administered in collaboration with a north-west pharmacy. Local library staff and volunteers assisted local residents with literacy support to complete forms and digital assistance during the vaccination program.

Invested in public library lending collections

using State Government Contemporary Library Resources funding to purchase over 20,000 physical books for the lending collections including 5,000 adult fiction books, 5,000 children’s picture books and 2,000 adult non-fiction books. These funds were also used to expand the increasingly popular Book Groups (652 items) and New Release Express Service (756 items) collections.

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