Library Lovers Crafternoon in the Pub

Please join the crafty SALIN librarians for a fun afternoon of networking, crafting and drinking. Bring your own craft to work on. All librarians, library lovers and their friends are welcome to join us. We’d love to see students as well.
When: Sunday 4th May, from 3pm
Where: The Franklin Hotel, 92 Franklin Street Adelaide (opposite the bus station)

Cost: own expense for drinks and snacks
RSVP: by 30th April so we can confirm numbers with the venue, but feel free to drop in on the day!

library craft

crafting idea

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Take a backstage tour of the new Adelaide City Library

Take a behind the scenes look at the new Adelaide City Library highlighting cutting edge technology including RFID tagging and their automated returns area as well as beautiful modern multipurpose spaces.

The half hour tour will be led by Library Manager Anne Rundle, followed by a light supper.

City Library, Francis Street (off Rundle Mall)

Date: Wednesday 16th April 2014
Time: 5.45pm for a 6pm start
Location: City Library, Francis Street (off Rundle Mall)
Meet up in meeting room 1 and 2
Cost: gold coin donation

The tour is currently full, but if you would like to be added to the waiting list in case there are any cancellations, please email

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Christmas Drinks

You are invited to…

A ʻLibrary Starsʼ Celebration

Join SALIN, ALIA New Graduates Group SA and ALIA Information Science Group SA
for Christmas drinks & celebrate the end of 2012

When: 6pm, Wednesday 12th December
Where: Hotel Richmond, upstairs, 128 Rundle Mall
Details: Drinks & food can be purchased at the Bar.
Theme: Decorate yourself with a Christmas star!

All attendees will go into a drawer to win prizes…

RSVP to Freya Lucas,
or just turn up on the night…

We’ll see you there!

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New SALIN Executive Committee member

SALIN welcomes one of our new members of the committee – Tim Ormsby

Tim came to the world of librarianship via the circuitous route of IT and Archaeology. He finished his Grad Dip. in Library and Information Management from UniSA in 2011. Since then he has been working casually at Mitcham Public Library and Flinders University Library. Tim recently secured the position of Lending Services Librarian at Flinders University Central Library.

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We’re going back to prison!

In October, 2009 SALIN offered  the opportunity for a small group to tour the Adelaide Women’s Prison libraries. Read the review here.

The event highlighted the resourcing needs of the libraries and put the call out for assistance.

Now we’re heading back to see if things have changed – did we succeed in helping improve the libraries?

Tour details:

  • Date: Monday 24th September, 2012
  • Time: 10.00– 11.00 am
  • Location: Adelaide Women’s Prison, Grand Junction Rd at Northfield
  • Cost: Free
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To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’: solving the ebook equation

Over 60 people gathered at the SALIN ebook forum on 24th of July to discuss the recent explosion in ebook usage and the impacts for libraries. Presenters from the academic, public and school library sectors gave insight into three very different experiences.

Jennifer Quilliam – Manager, Information Resources and Technology, University of South Australia

Jenny outlined UniSA’s current digital strategy to unlock information access for teaching, learning and research. The strategy focuses on an increased preference for digital resources. This is not only driven by the need to provide timely and remote access to resources for students and staff, but to reduce the space of the physical collection in anticipation of the move to new premises which requires the collection be reduced from 170,000 items to 100,000. With a large component of physical resources being moved off site into storage facilities, the new collection development strategy is to become “as ‘e’ as possible”.

Ebooks are purchased through a variety of large vendors such as EBSCOHost, and are prompted by patron requests, use of aggregate collections, publisher subject collections (which are DRM free) and item replacement activities. While in 2009 and 2010 purchase of ebooks was significantly lower than physical books, figures were more even in 2011, with ebooks slightly ahead. So far in 2012, ebook acquisitions outnumber physical books by 6 to 1.

A very interesting aspect of Jenny’s presentation detailed the training provided to staff to support them in dealing with ebook requests and user queries. This aspect of technology implementation can often be overlooked, so it was wonderful to hear how UniSA have created a program for staff to grow their understanding, awareness and confidence in ebook technology.

While 81% of staff had used ebooks, many had no experience or confidence in other aspects such as downloading content, ebook formats, digital rights management, or copying and pasting from ebooks. The training program instigated by UniSA was called ‘I promise ebooks won’t bite’ and was a self-directed plan designed to enable library staff to be more comfortable using ebooks and answering queries about their use. The training was successful in increasing staff confidence and also highlighted some issues and challenges ebook access presents.

More details can be found in Jenny’s presentation

Jason Forrest – English/Literacy Coordinator, Henley High School

Henley High has been receiving high media coverage lately for its move towards a virtual library for students. After losing their library staff and being hit by funding cuts, Jason introduced the virtual library with the aim of continuing, and increasing, access to literature for students. He spent time speaking to other schools, researching platforms (they eventually went with Overdrive) and speaking to teacher-librarians about content, coverage and usability of these platforms.

Despite what has been reported in the media, Henley High has not disposed of all their physical books. A large number were simply redistributed to specific learning areas within the school to increase their usage, e.g. teen fiction to the middle school, teacher reference material now resides in the appropriate study hub. The virtual library coexists with these physical collections of textbooks and fiction. Of the remaining books, data collected revealed they were low use titles and thus they were donated to Oxfam and the Salvation Army.

As all students and staff have laptops they can access the library’s 20,000 titles at any time through the school website. Overdrive provided a base website which was customised to include the school’s colours and logo, as well as what categories appeared in the menus. Up to 10 items can be borrowed at a time, and students can browse and view the whole collection at once, even suggesting new content for purchase. There are some restrictions with the software such as what e-readers can be used, what software is required, and dealing with licenses, but overall, the implementation has been a great success.

While some staff and parents have been adverse to the change, the students have wholeheartedly embraced ebooks and are continually asking for more titles to be added to the collection. One of the major bonuses of having the ebooks for English classes has been the ability to annotate the texts allowing students to fully engage with the works. Teachers and students have also started creating their own ebooks based on their own class-created material.

The virtual libraryis still in its infancy, however the next step is to assess the product using the available metrics (what is being read, how often the site is accessed) which can be gathered from the website.

Ian Hildebrand – Manager, Library Services, Mount Barker Community Library

The Mount Barker library got into ebooks almost by accident. Audiobooks were very popular at the library and usage equated to 6% of library business. The EBSCO Net Library platform which housed the library’s audiobooks soon made available an ebook selection.  The library decided to trial a small collection to test the waters with users.

A number of issues and limitations soon came to light:

  • The PDF format for books was not what users wanted, the e-pub format was not available
  • Compatibility issues existed with some readers
  • Most major publishers were not represented i.e. Penguin, Random House
  • Most popular titles and current releases were not included and there was a significant delay in them becoming available
  • There was a heavy bias towards US publishers, rather than UK or Australia, which had implications for geographic restrictions on some titles

Regardless of these issues and the few complaints from users, the service was well used and continuation was warranted.  However, Mount Barker then struck a snag. The EBSCO product became ‘EBSCO ebook Collection ‘and the audiobook component disappeared. This meant that the library no longer had one easy location for both ebooks and audiobooks. Then two of the biggest publishers either reduced their stock on the site or left altogether, further reducing the value of the service. The library has persisted with the product for now but is searching for an alternative platform. They have looked at Overdrive but feel it is quite costly to start up, is again US based, and doesn’t offer any better options for content than EBSCO. It does however have the e-pub format.

The library has moved its audiobook service to Bolinda, which Ian says has better Australian content. The library is also looking at e-magazines using the Zinio online service.

Overall, the event proved an excellent overview of different approaches for different library needs, though it did highlight that there is no ideal solution yet for any library. The journey into the realm of ebooks for all three libraries hasn’t been without some difficulties, and it was enlightening to hear how these different libraries continue to deal with these issues. As Ian said, when it comes to ebooks there is still a real divide between what users and libraries want, and what publishers are prepared to give.

SALIN thanks ALS Library Services, particularly Patricia Genat and Simon Woodley, for sponsoring the event and providing some fabulous door prizes for attendees. ALS provide ebooks through the Wheelers ePlatform service and are currently providing special deals for public and school libraries. Please contact ALS for more information.

Thanks also to our wonderful speakers who not only informed and entertained the audience, but answered a multitude of questions after the event on such things as use of QR codes, use of Smashwords for accessing independent authors, pricing structures, copyright, and the cost-effectiveness of print versus electronic.

Stephen Barnett has kindly provided access to some photographs he took on the night. Access them at this URL:

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Upcoming Event: To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’: solving the e-book equation

SALIN is pleased to announce that ALS Library Services is now sponsoring our upcoming event:

To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’: solving the e-book equation

A discussion forum with representatives from the public, university and school library sectors

All attendees will go in the draw for some fabulous prizes kindly donated by ALS, South Australia’s leading e-book supplier for schools and public libraries

Date: Tuesday 24th July

Time: 5:45pm for a 6pm start

Location: Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide

Cost: Free

Light refreshments provided

Our panel of experts includes:

  • Ian Hildebrand – Manager, Library Services, Mount Barker Community Library
  • Jennifer Quilliam – Manager, Information Resources and Technology, University of South Australia
  • Jason Forrest – English/Literacy Coordinator, Henley High School

For catering purposes, please RSVP to Kelly Frazer at by the 20th July, 2012

We hope you can join us for what will be an enlightening discussion

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Travelling with your Qualifications

On Thursday March 22, a bunch of library professionals and students came together to revel in the dream of travelling the world working in libraries. Four highly entertaining speakers regaled us with stories of language difficulties, inadequate resourcing, and dealing with decaying buildings, wild thunderstorms, and cockroaches. But it wasn’t all about the good times!

On a serious note, SALIN’s ‘Travelling with your Qualifications’ forum gave a wonderful insight for any library professional seeking an experience working in an overseas library. Not only will you meet some amazing people and be exposed to other cultures, but it’s a great way to gain valuable skills and experience, and share ideas amongst the international library community.

Meg Apsey – University of the South Pacific – Solomon Islands Campus

Our first speak, Meg, was living in the Solomon Islands with her husband who was working with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). She had been volunteering in a school when a friend, who was a teacher, told her about the lack of a librarian at the Honiara campus of the University of the South Pacific. It seems there were no qualified librarians in the country to take on the role of Campus Librarian. In fact, there had not been a campus librarian since the last one fled after the April riots of 2005. Meg applied for the position, participating in a phone interview with the main campus in Suva, Fiji, and before she knew it, she was run off her feet dealing with the heavy demands of a busy campus of around 3000 students.

Most students were doing foundation courses or degrees in finance and accounting, with rote learning a prevalent teaching method. Meg initiated group sessions on using the Internet, but encountered cultural issues with students unwilling to talk in groups, or even be in a one-on-one situation with Meg, especially if they were male. The library catalogue was on Athena, a free software package. The periodicals were the most extensively used resource, including New Scientist, Time, and the Bulletin.

While space was often not an issue, although the tropical climate meant the buildings often appeared in decay due to peeling paint, there wasn’t enough funding to complete projects, or even cover the costs of chairs for study areas. One of the most difficult things Meg had to deal with was competing distractions that stopped people turning up for work, or people agreeing to do things with nothing eventuating. With no high expectations of what she could achieve, Meg often had to search for other ways to get things done.

While the pay was minimal ($26,000), it’s evident that the pleasure Meg gained from working in the Solomon Islands made the experience a memorable one.

Louise Gillis – Wageningen UR Library, Netherlands

Louise is a Canadian expat who came to Australia three years ago when her husband gained work here. While in Canada, Louise worked as a bookmobile librarian and showed us the sweetest photographs of her colourful vehicle. Unlike Meg who applied for her job while already residing in the country, when Louise found about her impending move to Australia she immediately began her research. Using the ALIA website and other online resources, Louise started by finding out what types of jobs were available, what skills and qualifications were asked for in job adverts, and what type of library would most likely be hiring. This led her to decide on academic libraries and she began monitoring the websites of Adelaide’s three universities.

Louise spoke about the need to have low expectations about getting a job immediately but to remain upbeat at all times as employers like to see this in potential employees. She also spoke about the need to start conversations with potential employers to get your name known. Louise’s first job in Australia had a touch of serendipity. She contacted the library at Flinders University about a vacancy to ask whether she was eligible to apply. While it turned out she wasn’t, this dialogue led to her being offered another opportunity within the library. Since then Louise has worked a number of contracts and now works as a Research Librarian at Barr Smith Library.

Since moving to Australia, Louise also spent a four month stint in the Netherlands, working at the Wageningen UR Library. Once again Louise used her initiative and contacted the Library Director, whose details she found on the Internet. She explained her situation, being upfront about the limitations of her finite stay, and volunteered her services for free, emphasising her enthusiasm and commitment. It worked, and the opportunity allowed her to develop experience and skills that eventually led to her being offered a paid contract when another staff member went on leave. The only difficulty Louise encountered revolved around the language barriers. Even though staff were required to speak English when serving clients, Dutch was still the language used ‘behind-the-scenes’, making it a challenge to fit in socially with the staff.

To sum up Louise spoke about the differences between the three countries she has worked in. Culturally Canada and Australia have good similarities and work-wise it was easy to assimilate into the workplace. Although, addressing selection criteria was something she hadn’t encountered before. The value of qualifications was also of interest. In the Netherlands, many library staff had doctorates in their subject specialisation but not library qualifications; in Canada most librarians have a Masters; while in Australia  qualifications seem important, but experience on the job seems often just as valuable.

Karen Donkin – National Library of Vanuatu / Port Vila Public Library

Karen had a different approach to working overseas, applying with Australian Volunteers International for a position at the Public/National Library of Vanuatu in Port Vila, Efate. Contrary to what you may think, volunteers do get paid, and the allowance goes towards rent, food and other living expenses. Most assignments last for 12 months and can be located anywhere around the world. Check the AVI website for current available positions.

Karen was the first librarian to volunteer in Vanuatu and her experience was a real eye-opener. The public library’s budget only covered salaries and some stationary. The library collection subsisted purely on donations, most coming from Australia or from expats who donated their books when it came time to leave the islands. Karen spent her time helping students find information, providing reader education, working in children services and even cleaning shelves. Vanuatu has three main languages – French, English and Bislama, a pidgin language that Karen had some lessons in before she left. However, most books in the library were in French (which made cataloguing challenging) or English, with very few in Bislama. The lack of resources made her appreciate the’ luxuries’ we have in Australia.

There were plenty of other challenges too. Coping with the tropical weather (both the humidity and hygiene issues), dealing with old and inappropriate donations, and fighting off the cockroaches. Despite this, Karen gained great satisfaction from organising new collections, gathering donations from Australia for a new toy box for the children, meeting some amazing people, and giving back to the profession in using her skills to assist library staff in developing their services and resources. She highly recommends the experience to others.

Ainsley Painter – St Mary’s International School, Japan

Our last speaker, Ainsley, was working as an ESL teacher in Japan when a friend suggested she would suit library work. She started regularly checking the employment section of the Japan Times and eventually applied and secured a library assistant position at the local International School. The school catered for students of expat parents from over 83 nationalities and was based on an American schooling model. Ainsley also found that responding to selection criteria was not a requirement of the application – only a cover letter, her resume and two interviews (one with the headmaster and the other with the head librarian) was needed.

Ainsley had no library qualifications at the time, but as the role also required her to be in charge of the media library, she thinks the fact that she had enough Japanese to read the buttons on the video play helped her get the job. Besides her media specialist duties, she mainly reshelved journals. But Ainsley wasn’t afraid to try new tasks and take on duties outside her job description which led to her being responsible for the library’s website. The pay for librarians was very good, and if you were an expat hire, as opposed to a local hire, you earned more and received other perks such as subsidised accommodation, an annual flight home, and paid holidays over the summer break.

Ainsley’s tips for surviving the experience include:

  • Do your research before you go – into the culture, qualifications required, and tax implications of working overseas
  • Make friends with the IT guy – very useful if you accidently break something
  • Develop a support/social network outside of the school. Ainsley recommended Being A Broad – a support and information network for international women living in Japan
  • Try to learn some of the language
  • Be enthusiastic to get the most out of the experience

The experience secured Ainsley’s interest in libraries (she began her Graduate Diploma externally during her 2-year stay) and she now works as a graduate librarian at the Barr Smith Library. For others wishing to seek employment in an International School, Ainsley suggests looking at the employment section of the Weekend Australian, or attending the Job Fairs in Sydney or Melbourne.

In finishing up, Ainsley related the experiences of a friend who had moved to the UK last year. It took him 6 months to secure an entry-level position in a law firm, but this may have been halved if he had known about the library-specific recruiting agencies. Two resources to use are Sue Hill Recruitment and CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Interestingly, to study the graduate diploma in the UK you already need to be working in a library, and you need a Masters if you want to rise above an entry level position.

Overall it was wonderful to hear four very different people share four very different experiences.  Thank you to all our speakers who entertained us with their tales of adventure, their advice and tips, and their stunning photography of far-off places.

Kelly Frazer

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Travelling with your qualifications

Do you:

  • spend hours poring over tourist guides and travel brochures?
  • overindulge in travelogues about people ‘finding themselves’ in far-off places?
  • yearn to broaden your mind and experience new cultures?
  • want to live in another country?

Then this session is for you!

‘Travelling with your qualifications’ explores the experience of working in a library in a foreign country. Our panel of experts will let you in on all the secrets as they discuss the good and the bad of such a grand undertaking

Date: Thursday 22 March 2012

Time: 5:45pm for a 6pm start

Location:  Room CS2-04, City West Campus Library, UniSA

Light refreshments provided

RSVP to Kelly Frazer  -

Hope to see you there

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Christmas drinks event

You are invited to…

‘Deck the halls with bows & frivolity’

Join SALIN & ALIA New Graduates Group SA for Christmas drinks & celebrate the end of 2011

When: 6pm, Wednesday 7th December

Where: Hotel Richmond, upstairs, 128 Rundle Mall

Details: Drinks & food can be purchased at the Bar.

Theme: Bows. Bust out your bowties, hair bows, Christmas bows or use your imagination…

All attendees will be entered into the prize draw to win a $50 gift voucher

RSVP to Amy Broad, or just turn up on the night

We’ll see you there!

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