Session 3 The 5 Ps of sustainable public library planning

good afternoon all it's been a great conference so far I mean my name is Sharon Chapman I'm from the city of Bumbry and also the chairperson of the State West library consortium I sound like bit like a chipmunk today because I have come down with a bit of a flu so I do apologize for my voice I would like to ask delegates just remind you to have your mobile phones turned off I will turn down to silent I'd also like to acknowledge bibliotheca as our sponsors of this session and ask NJ J go to come forward for his address thanks Sharon thanks for getting my surname right - well then my surname is quite interesting it actually means champion fighting chicken in Indonesian so anyway my name's Ian Jago from biblioteca and we're very delighted to be at elwa again and to be able to sponsor this session and it is a great opportunity for us and a great privilege our focus as a company is on library that's what biblioteca do and our main focus is to increase the patron discovery and to increase the circulation as well through our Quick Connect platform also to drive participation and to uniquely fully integrate our cloud library which is our ebook solution into being able to actually borrow ebooks directly from a self-check so you've got people come up to borrow normal books and pop up with recommended reads for them to be able to borrow immediately ebooks so we want to be able to fully integrate that type of content and to be able to drive but its participation of your patrons as well we're also working to make your library a safe and accessible place to outside of normal opening hours and we have a new platform that we are about to introduce called open plus and that is has been incredibly popular in Denmark in the UK where libraries now can without staff can actually allow patrons to access different areas of libraries and so on outside of normal opening hours so that's something that be very happy to talk to you about again I just want to say thank you very much for the opportunity biblioteca to be part of this great gathering here there's a few places here I do know and very happy to be able to sponsor this session with Alison Kemp from Gold Coast and my colleague is not here wherever she is still understand Kelly Knudson and I hope I got a name correct there too will be very honestly standing out there be very very happy to speak with you at some stage so again thank you very much for the opportunity to be able to be here and to sponsor this session [Applause] okay so if you do have any questions I'd like to ask you to just like we've done before had them at the end of the session with the roving microphone now I'd like to introduce Allison Kemp allison is executive coordinator of library and customer service at the Gold Coast City Council Allison is included in her responsibilities is community programming partnerships and marketing allison has worked at a number of library services both large and small across Queensland over the past 30 years and so has a good understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented it in diverse communities Allison has a passion for delivering sustainable library programs that build community capacity and engagement like to welcome Allison [Applause] if I'm that make you feel so old when they say 30 years with me it's just gonna find out while I took of my device at the mic good job thank you very much for having me in Western Australia it's I haven't been to Western Australia since I was five we apparently used to live here but I have absolutely no memory of it but it's beautiful Perth is just such a gorgeous gorgeous city it's really clean and green and so much exciting and interesting architecture and you've got a little bit of old a little bit of new I'm really loving it it's a beautiful place and the conference is so well organized so actually said to Burnie last night I think I might start coming to the waa conference instead of the Queensland one but don't tell them so as I said I haven't been here for a long time and I actually have very little knowledge of Western Australian libraries so I've done a little bit of Internet and social media stalking I mean research and I've actually found that your libraries are very similar to ours on the Gold Coast and so I hope that I can still add some value to your conference today I'm actually going to talk about the the journey that we've had on the Gold Coast we're developing programs for our customers and I call them community programs because we have a little bit of an issue in Queensland with what council calls cost shifting to state government and so we don't call them learning or education programs we just call them community programs and that gets us off the hook a little bit just wanting to be a little bit of context or about the library service on the Gold Coast so we are a network of 13 branch libraries and a mobile library service the Gold Coast is a long stretch of 40 kilometres of beaches a little bit of high-density high-rise which you probably have all just heard of is the glitter strip that's a really tiny little bit of the Gold Coast if you go 20 kilometres west you're actually in the inter land so beautiful mountain ranges that board of the New South Wales border and lots of rainforest walks and that sort of thing so we have quite a diverse community we also in the Northern Corridor have very very high growth area what we call dama trees suburbs so thousands and thousands it's just the Seas of homes that have popped up virtually overnight with no social infrastructure to speak of just lots and lots of very large houses on very small plots of land with no not even really a park to speak of so it's an interesting place really high mortgage default from third highest in the country in that area I think people see have seen inexpensive land and built massive homes on it and then realized that they actually can't afford it after sometimes quite diverse is also a lot of wealth from the gold coast along main beach areas and that sort of things it's an interesting and beautiful place to live and like patio invite you to come and have a look we're very well supported by our local council and we have beautiful beautiful buildings as well but I'm going back to tell everybody that so that they'll get jealous and build us a new one but also very competitive on the Gold Coast which brings me to the Commonwealth Games so our building project has almost halters we're hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on the Gold Coast so we've had a lot of infrastructure go up we've had trams and buildings and stadiums and pools and it's been fantastic legacy for the Gold Coast already even though we haven't hosts of the game so but the whole city is geared up the whole certainly my organization is geared up and very very excited to be hosting the games next year which would be a great opportunity for you to come visit we'll be showcasing our library's laptop just keeps sliding off so all of this started with a very strong belief that the role of the public library is to community is as community capacity builder and we've developed a program of community events and inform engage promote learning encourage reading and inspire I'm going to talk about planning first because patty has reiterated over and over again that it's really important and I probably learnt the hard way that it's really important I I tend to be one of those people who just jump in straight away and so when I arrived on the Gold Coast let's do all this and they kind of looked at me like year right so we when we took a step back and started some really serious planning and one of the first things which seems really really logical is to just identify who your target market is I know that's would seem like an easy thing to do but just bear with me if you could just turn to the person beside you or behind you if you don't have anyone beside you and just say in just one or two words like you were talking to an advertising campaign manager who said who's your target market who is your target market for your Public Library in only one or two words no cheating I think you're cheating I can I can see the obedient people in the audience because they'll stop talking as you know and well aware that in a public library it's very difficult to actually identify who our target market is and in fact it's everyone when you were trying to run through all of those words what you should have just summarized is everyone and the other thing that we really need to do quite upfront is work out what is our product so again I need you to talk to the person beside you you can have a few more words because we we have more than one product I guess but you know like coca-cola has coke and Tetley has tea what do you libraries do what do what is our product go for it you're a lively lot all right all right all right Wow so in summary everything yeah so you get the idea it's just very impossible for us to be everything to everyone all of the time even though we do try to do that so that was our very first lesson is we really have to try and just narrow it back into what it is that we're going to deliver at this point in time and what is their major focus so I'm going to talk a little bit about that more further on I just wonder if you had the Gruen project in w-a here so if you haven't seen that it's a ABC program where they invite advertising agencies to come and prepare a campaign for something that's quite difficult to sell and I would love to see them do a public library so everything for everyone all of the time I think it would be really great challenge for them might even send it in so the obvious things the way that we could target or minimize what it is that we were going to deliver and when I say that we we still know that we're all things to all people all of the time but we know that we can't do that well it also is really really confusing message to put out to the community and it's really tough on your staff because they don't know what our priorities are and you know they feel really stretched just at the thought of trying to do that so we review our plan now actually even every six and 12 months for our not for a big strategic plan but just through our program plan about what are our target areas and the things that we look at when we're doing that is number one council strategic plan because it just makes good sense to align ourselves with the agenda of the organization that funds us and so I was actually quite devastated last year when counsel produced its strategic plan it's 280 pages and the word library wasn't mentioned in it once so after I had a little rant and everybody that would listen I we came back and thought well that's all right we're still going to report against the strategic plan regardless how can we how do we tie ourselves in with this for example one of their key agendas is a digital city and of course libraries contribute to that enormous Lea and so we just started we reformatted our calendar of events that we put out and we just call that section digital city and and so we're just deliberately aligning ourselves all the time with that strategic plan we also look for sort of the less written cues things like where is the mayor hanging out so from last year although there wasn't a lot in the strategic plan about youth in the city the mayor took that as a particular interest than something that he was personally invested in and he went to things to two openings of skateboard bowls and things like that and so we thought well you know this is really important to the mayor and you know there is no target wrong target market for public libraries and so we put them in our program plan for that period just you know we get the mayor to come along to games now which is really cool and if he sees what we're doing then we're more likely to keep that funding going as well so it might sound like we're playing politics but there is no wrong target market and it's just about being a bit savvy where we spend our time and energy the other thing is obviously demographics we're really long as I said coastal strip and from one end to the other and inland of really different communities for example runaway Bay as the name might suggest is largely retirees 47% of the population of runaway Bay not even 20 kilometers west of that is one of the dormitory suburbs of Upper Coomera really really really high density living and lots and lots of young families when we opened the Upper Coomera library not so long ago the staff were astounded because the kids the families that came in to join the library there weren't ever all very rarely one or two children they told me there were 4 to 13 children so lots and lots of young children in that area but only you know this far away on the map so we have to really we can't just say you know we're going to run this we really do have to localize what we're running at each of those libraries otherwise we just cease to become relevant to those particular communities we obviously look for gaps in services so at runaway Bay for example you would think that we would tailor all of our programs for those retirees however when we look in that community they're really well resourced they've got heaps of services there's lots of non-government organizations and lots of support agencies and lots of social groups and u3 aids and all those sorts of things so there's actually quite a lot for those retirees to do what there isn't anything to do is for the teenagers who go to the two local high schools who the only thing they can do is hang out at the shopping center or in the library and annoy the retirees so we do a lot of programming for the teens in that area just to try and engage those we also made some very key decisions very early on so programs would no longer be tokenistic by that I mean we used to roll out a once a year homage to our seniors in seniors week and our multicultural communities on how many day and our indigenous communities during NAIDOC week we still participate in those events however we've deliberately said that we will run an inclusive program all year long so you will see programs throughout the year instead of just a pop up event during NAIDOC week and go hey we acknowledge you exist so we very deliberately don't do that anymore we take a community development model approach so we work with people rather than for them we build on communities existing strengths skills and capacities we provide opportunities for people to build relationships with each other and we foster relationships between people who have power and resources and those that don't another really important and lively discussion I think it's called positive conflict that we've had amongst ourselves is where is our balance going to be between our services for the masses this is the minority just as an example we could run storytime sessions three times every day of the week and when I say sir each time we do a baby rhyme time a story time and a toddler time every week in all of our libraries we could run those three programs every day in all of those libraries and they would be packed out to the rafters and they would probably be the same people come in every day so it's a really really popular service and I don't doubt that it has great value and we're doing some a little bit of research around the outcomes now however we all know that there are groups and in the community who need our time possibly a lot more than those people who are coming along to those and so it's about this balance where we can say to Council look we do this many programs and we had this many thousand people coming or we can say look we've run these programs and only ten of them come and I'm talking things like our English conversation circles and adult literacy programs and things like that so that they're a much higher investment for us but they have better outcomes more important outcomes I guess so we had this little conversation every now and then about how where is that balance for us and that really has changes over time so for example when in depends on a new election cycle to be honest so when we get a whole heap of new counselors come in and they don't understand what we do and all they're looking at the number is and is the numbers on the page they want to know well we've got you know five hundred and twenty thousand people in the city why aren't they all coming to a program and if we in the early in that cycle if we do these big math programs and we can say nine hundred people came this week or whatever compared to you know ninety people came so but as their understanding of what we can do and their trust in us to deliver and become stronger we can move away from those mass programs and we go more to the programs that perhaps have more social benefit we've got 13 branch libraries on the Gold Coast and we've just recently opened or not recently it's about three years ago now and the beautiful Helensvale library which is this is one of the little nookie holes in the kids in the kids the area there's little that's actually one of our counselors children's politics and the Upper Coomera library is a new one and we've got two new ones on the books for after the Commonwealth Games should we have any money left in the city so we also decided very early on and I'm so glad that we did planned to measure what we do and we keep the usual statistics like I'm sure everybody does but we do it in a way that enables us to respond to every situation so for example we collect statistics under five key areas and they are reading and writing computers and online connected and healthy creative and innovative lifestyle and learning and history and heritage under physics within these groups and they're classified further into the types of programs so there's writing programs children's programs programs for small business just anything that we can sort of clump together creative and innovative programs and stem programs which were heavily into at the moment and that way and also then again in down further into the demographic so when somebody comes and says to us you know what are you doing in this area just the mayor said you know do we ever do anything for seniors and so we're able to say you know we do this many programs and we do these this many programs for seniors in online and we do this many programs for seniors in creative and and that sort of same thing so it's a massive spreadsheet it's well beyond my capacity to even work out how to use it there's a lot of what they call pivot tables in it Leona the other coordinator is a master at Excel and it boggles my brain I hope she never leaves cuz we're all scary but it's really really well worth it the other thing that we collect is our stories and by this I mean just the stories from customers and the the effect that the programs have had in their lives one of the ones it's just a couple up there but one of the ones that was really useful was we had a local counselor who is the deputy mayor not wholly engaged in libraries she's probably the one person who were very careful about made quite a public comment one day about it was a conversation there was a media inquiry about the fiscal responsibility of council and she said I don't know why we make cupcakes in libraries so it was just a little flippant comment that she made and it was so beautiful that she chose cupcakes because we had just about two weeks prior to that had this beautiful letter written in from a customer when she made that comment it got unfortunately quite a bit of media traction and so we were required to respond to it we had this beautiful letter from a customer that says I'm new to town I'm a single mom I've got a new baby I'm suffering from postnatal depression I don't know anybody and I went to the narang library the other day and I happened upon a cupcake making session and I sat with it and I made some friends and I learned how to make cupcakes and I learnt about baby rhyme time while I was there and I've started up a little business of my own selling cupcakes and I just wanted to thank you so today here's that letter they were so we keep them we keep them forever so there's two of these you know they're probably two years old now just keep them forever so just the the wealth of them grow and you'll be able to pull them out whenever you need them and they're priceless and also they're great news stories for the staff to share I never have to I never take having to justify our programs as a negative to council and we do quite a bit we're in the middle of a full council review and customer services always comes we're in the Community Services Division and they always get questioned quite a lot I think when I worked in Mackay City Council I heard one of the counselors say are they the frilly bits so we quite often get a lot of scrutiny and we're having a full review of our area at the moment which is fine that's their job to do that and you know it's good for us to have a good look at ourselves as well but and I never take it it's a negative the fact that we're in the spotlight occasionally means that we're doing something right with the amount of activity that we generate I'd be very disappointed if no one noticed us fortunately those that concern themselves with the cost of service delivery were genuinely surprised during this service review to find that the programs budget that is that the amount paid to our providers last year was just $14,000 we on the Gold Coast I'm just trying to find my stats sorry so we've had a significant increase in the amount of programs that we run on the Gold Coast and we've done what I'm going to get to is how we've done that we've gone so a little bit like Patty and I know that we're not the most we don't do the most programs and don't have the greatest attendants but we're the $14,000 budget we do pretty damn well so we've gone from 1,400 programs a year to well now well over 9,000 and we've had an increase in attendance to library programs of over 680 percent to over a hundred and seventy-three thousand participants without any extra funding or staffing and that's really what I wanted to talk to you about today is how we've done that and we have four models the first model is our staff to live it and this is the programs that are absolutely core to our business so anything to do with literacies essentially a run by our staff and they do it really really well so all the story times and maybe around times the digital literacy programs and we've also recently in the last two years incorporated the stem programs so our staff have become robotics gurus and they're really into coding and they take the Lego Mindstorm stuff home and they make robots and and they run the programs really really really well so that's become core business for us and our library staff run those programs and it's not a really high cost because once you have developed those programs you can share them around between all of our libraries so it's not like we have to reinvent the wheel every time in the second model which is the one that's made the vast difference to the way that we do programming is through community partnership one of the best and most effective things we've done is to share the responsibility for the development and delivery of customer programs with our library staff originally all library programs were organized centrally through a programs team of three in library administration and there was also myself but I actually had to come to realize that I actually wasn't helping I was just lobbing ideas in and hoping that they'd go forth and deliver them so I don't count myself there's four but I take myself out of that cuz I'm just a hassle really we do however have a hundred and eighty library staff and they are just the most magnificent source of connections and ideas and enthusiasm so once I said to them and it wasn't overnight but it did happen I think there's an ad in there once we brought them on board they were able to contact or get in contact with their own personal networks and they're the people that come across the counters who they find networks with although just go and into the community and find people who would run for it usually an hour an hour and a half a program free of charge in the library and they were just such a huge rich source of ideas and opportunities through the community connections that staff have both through their personal lives and the library customers staff have tapped into their local community partnering with business professionals individuals with a passion and community groups to volunteer their time and knowledge to share with community the depth and range of activities is too diverse and too many to go into here but they extend from palmistry to pain management through writing a resume and mending clothes to quitting smoking to setting up a small business website in the past year alone over two thousand and forty six programs were delivered by community groups business professionals or enthusiasts at no cost to Council that provided new learning and connecting experiences to Gold Coast residents it's true that these are perhaps less deep and meaningful relationships they some of them come and they go sort of like a one-night stand I guess more than a a meaningful relationship but they add enormous value and they make the service that we offer so much richer than it would otherwise be without the support of the community we could not run anywhere near the volume or range of events which allows us to appeal to a much wider audience and while it might seem that this has been possible due to the Gold Coast being a city of over half a million people I used to work in a small town west of Rockhampton called billowy our population 5,000 and we used the same model there so just because I can see a few yawns and the audience and because I love your energy you just have a little thinking or if you've got a piece of paper you can start doing yourself just think about all the different contexts that you have in your community whether it be a business or you know we use travel agents and physiotherapists and anybody that you can imagine that is a part of your community who might actually come to your library and present for one hour to your community and I think you'll be hugely surprised about how many people there are just take two minutes and just brainstorm some ideas thanks everyone did you consider organizations that that have a function of health promotion the Heart Foundation the Dental Association the hobbyists the beekeepers the cheese makers the paper makers the computer businesses they can do things like how to make a good website how to market your business through social media solicitors what to do when considering writing a will the allied health professionals like psychologists speech therapists or even doctors we've had the travel doctors come and talk to people about what to consider when they're traveling so and we're constantly astounded at the generosity of spirit for people to not only agree to share their time and knowledge but also now after having done this for several years the community come to us even wanting to be included in the programs this not only enables a great diversity of topics and covers a broad range of interests but there are also some benefits for those folk as well so they get all the benefits of what volunteering does the sense of achievement and fulfillment personal development and a boost to their self-esteem a sense of belonging and of connection to community and an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends we've got an indigenous artist on the Gold Coast who he's an elderly gentleman beautiful man Sylvester cook and always wanted to share his passion for his art and that was really really shy in front of people and so this was a really nice way for him to develop some expertise in working and some skills in working with people so Sylvester came and we gave him just a really small group assisted by a staff member initially of people of artists emerging artists and servos Sylvester did a little workshop at no charge he wanted to do that with those people and now in the last school holidays we were able to pay Sylvester to actually run workshops for large groups of children and they were crazy and he managed it beautifully so just watching his development over the last 12 months has been really lovely as well we've engaged with thousands of volunteer park community partners has not been without problems but if you're aware of these you can avoid them and having to learn the hard way like we did I'll give you a few tips to try and avoid that we learned pretty quickly that you need to be very clear what your expectations are and we ask presenters to sign an agreement that details our responsibilities as well as their own our most important rule is they'll shall not just flog a product well presenters are welcome to bring along their business cards they must share their knowledge about their craft and not their product for example the man who gives talks on beekeeping and he does that regulate to a packed house as many people as we can fit in the room there should never be a shortage of bees I don't understand it well he can give his presentation he can't mention that he also sells the hives and the equipment but he can leave his business card there and people can collect that and being contact with him later and likewise the lady who does the essential oils I think there's a dozen of those on the Gold Coast and they can talk about their benefits of essential oils but they can't say that they sell essential oils they can just leave their business cards there we've had a physiotherapist who's come and done sessions on how to avoid running injuries and again he can't say you know hung up the road make an appointment before you go and we make that really really clear and 99.9% of our program of our partners have been very happy to do that we also have worked hard with you know divesting the responsibility of engaging all of these presenters with our staff has also had the added benefit of them taking a real ownership over that event so they tend to talk it up a lot in their library they promote it really well they want to see it may be they want to see it be successful and so that they also we have some little protocol about how we present and we also we don't just open the door and let the speaker come in close the door behind them and sort of walk off it's our program as much as it is the person presenting and so we really take a great deal of ownership over that and we would do the introductions and we're there to support them throughout the session and we always have books on the topics so if it's a beekeeping one we will the the trolleys in or we have some display shelves now in all of our programming areas where we can do displays on the topics to try and cross promote the collections as well and we have forms for registering interest and ways and means of sharing feedback among staff so if somebody's not particularly good at doing it then we sort of share that knowledge because quite quite often some people come with a very best of intent but they're just not particularly engaging and so we might just try them for one or two times and then you know that was our one night stand the third model that I mentioned earlier which is paid presenters we use very very infrequently and we only do it where there's an expertise level that we don't have ourselves or where it's just protocol to do that so things like our writers workshops where we would engage published authors to come we pay for those most of the indigenous workshops we would pay for those sorts of things and the teen workshops we almost always have to pay for those because just to get the teens in the library we need to get something far more engaging than we can usually pull out of our craft supply box so but those are the minority and so with all of those programs entire budget for that for an annual is $14,000 and the final model of our staff is our staff coordinated volunteer delivered programs these capacity-building programs that require a greater investment of time and expertise that is affordable while staff time is required to recruit and manage volunteers the programs they deliver are enormous ly valuable for the community and these are actually some of my personal favorite ones so some all the lasts just before the last election we had a charming premier who cut all funding to almost all social services in Queensland including adult literacy and I think it was almost the year of reading when you know we were all talking about ridiculous levels of low literacy in Australia and including funding to the TAFE was cut as well so I jumped online one day and do you have the reading writing hotline and I'm sure that's a national number and I just pretended that I needed with literacy and the guy who was reading a script probably in Canberra said not can't help you so we partnered with TAFE and we somebody who no longer had a job at TAFE delivered developed a little one day training program for us and we put our volunteers through that so that they can do one on one literacy to tutoring with community we didn't know how it would go because if you can't read a library it's not really the place that you hang out so we promoted at places we just put up really basic pose posters all over the city and places like laundromats and support services and things that's social security centres that just said need help reading call this number and it was sort of like a dating service now we have it's grown to capacity we always said look we can really only manage 75 volunteers so we have 75 volunteers then we have 75 learners and I think we've got another 9 on the books and so when one leaves we'll rotate them around some of them have stayed for a couple of years and some of them just come build their confidence and then leave it's astounding how many retired teachers are in our community and you probably have them as well and they're just dying to help so that's been very successful am I getting the wrap up yep okay the other one that we use the volunteers for is our English conversation circles and we have a lot of new migrants to the Gold Coast and English is not their first language so again we get volunteers we put them through a little course on how to support English conversation English is the second language and it's it's an informal process people just come in a room and the facilitator just gives them a topic to talk about today it could be shopping or clothes or whatever it is they give them a topic and people just talk around that topic it's a really safe environment to get it wrong and people from all backgrounds and nationalities it's really really lovely outcome and we have something like 9,000 people came through that program last year skipping stuff okay thank you we also try to tap ourselves into the community and other unexpected places so as library staff we really know what we can do and where our benefit is but sometimes we really need to explain that to other people one such example is I was invited to a meeting called community connections it was the gathering of community stakeholders brought together to discuss the rise of unrest in a public housing block I was invited by somebody I'd previously previously worked with on similar projects in a different council and but the government official who was organizing the meeting looked kind of embarrassed that I was there and said I'm sorry perhaps you the problem wasn't explained to you my issue is about behavior in a housing block we have a block of 228 units with mixed tenants from elderly single women to young unemployed men and they don't get on the real problem of course was just a lack of purpose and sense of community in these blocks they were behaviors such as kicking over the neighbors carefully tended pot plants and poor bouncing a ball on the adjoining wall inside your unit for hours on end we're just because they didn't know the people next door if they knew them and respected them or at least cared about them slightly they wouldn't be doing those things we suggested that city libraries might run some basic computer classes specifically for block residents to not only provide some new skills but also to get people out of their homes and to connect with their neighbors a public housing official was interested but skeptical we ran the class for two weeks two hours a week for five weeks it was filled to capacity everyone came to every session and the mixed class of elderly and young men and women spent time in the session helping each other making conversation over cups of tea in the breaks learning new skills growing growing in confidence and connecting with their own and broader community we've been asked to do it again and again and again these people live in the same block they'd never met each other they didn't care his pot plant they kicked over they do now so to wrap it up some lessons learnt be organized as strategic and careful we've created guidelines for presenters one thing just because it just popped into my mind at the most inappropriate moment if you're doing health sessions and things on we do a lot of we have a lot of sessions on mental health we always make sure that the people delivering those sessions are qualified to do that so that's just a tip just make sure that they actually you know not just out of the goodness of their heart gonna mess with someone else's mind listen to the customer I tried at one stage to pull back on events I thought were less defendable things like palmistry and astrology however when I looked at the statistics in the feedback I found that these sessions were all very well attended and that the adulation was undeniable the sessions cost us nothing they bring like-minded people together they keep individuals engaged in their communities and their minds and their lives active so we now offer many sessions of a metaphysical nature and I'm happy to defend them should the need arise potential community partners don't always recognize the role reach and impact of the public library we need to connect the dots for them but the more we do this the faster the word gets out other organizations suggests libraries as partners would look to us for ideas about who else they can work with just a week before I came away the Gold Coast health high planning strategy meeting was held and I was invited to go along because they recognized that where else can they touch base with 267 thousand customers directly or eight thousand customers come through a library a day and they were like ooh instant audience and when we told them about the amount of programs that we ran there were kind of gobsmacked as well but it was nice that they recognized it funding is not a barrier it's just a challenge and where there's a will there's a way if not straightaway park it and take up another project until the next opportunity arise make sure that you capture their all-important feedback and tap into the knowledge networks and enthusiasm of your staff it helps to share the load and it creates variety in the program of events it also creates opportunity for more community involvement and to build a culture of innovation and creativity I've noticed a change in our culture in our workplace where innovation and ideas are met with excitement and enthusiasm and staff truly 100% understand that the library's role their role and impact in the community is far greater than encouraging and supporting reading staff talk with energy and commune about community need and social outcomes and connectedness it's really worthwhile while aligning our priorities of those with council it's is obvious and make sense are you bored with me sorry not only do we exist to help council progress its priorities but it was also proven to be beneficial time and again in providing meaning to what we do to those that fund us it's hard to argue that City of Gold Coast's libraries program of community events and not call business when they align directly to the themes of councils vision and finally we learned that utilizing the knowledge skills and generosity of our community to provide programs is a powerful way to build capacity and resilience [Applause] [Music] I'm sure you'd all like to join me in thanking Alison and I'm sure we've got some questions I was quite amazed with how much how much you're actually doing with so little I know our budgets are all stretched so I'm sure we've got some questions about them hi Alison I already say hello um I just wanted if you could speak a little bit more and a bit slower because I couldn't keep her about the pages that you keep that you can respond to every situation so you talked about reading and writing and there was about I think so our program plan is we have pillars we call them pillars that support our community and they are reading and writing computer and online or we changed it for a little bit they're called digital cities history and heritage said reading and writing heritage lifestyle and learning and creative and innovative is it hello hi Allison this question so bear with me while I try to frame it into words particularly interested like when you started doing the presentations and workshops with community members and particularly community businesses you mentioned how during the presentation part that they can't just promote their goods how did you go about that with the promotion of that light did you just go there's a beekeeping workshop or did anyone ever go well no it needs to say beekeeping workshop with beekeeper Bob because that's who I am and you need to how did you balance yeah to be honest we do do it we'll put their name in our program and say you know presented by but no one ever has asked us to do that it really does come from a good place when people give up their time and energy and I think that's what I've been most astounded by is very very although you know there's obviously that I might get some new customers here at the back of their mind they did I think because they've come from through the staff and so they you know they've probably started off as friends and relatives and neighbors and regular customers so they're doing us a favor and they're happy to do that hi just a question about costs for people attending these presentations by the volunteers are there any is it all for you everything's free yeah thank you I was just wondering in terms of having a large multi branch system is there more programs coming out of certain libraries is there any need for consistency in terms of programming across your branches do you have maybe some libraries where there's more passionate about things so you get other programs about the same thing and how do you work with that across all your branches yeah there are definitely and there are some teams who just really quickly embraced it and the calendar of events that we used to publish we've gone online now we're saving paper and money we used to be you know all Robina library programs or a vast amount of them as I said we're quite a competitive City so it didn't take long for everyone to go oh god we'd better get out together act together and they started doing it as well so Luca Deb's and Flo's a little bit depending on what else is happening in the libraries but given that you know it's actually not far to drive from one library to the other you know some people may not cross the river but it's actually only you know one half an hour drive to most places across the city so I'm not I'm fairly relaxed about how much they do and I know that if they've got a lot else on in their libraries without you know they might have refurbishments going on or stopped takes or you know something else that's equally important in that particular month then that's okay the rest of the city kind of carries it for that month and now I don't want I don't want to see anybody get burnt out either I think it you know intends to be a little bit like Children's Services that you get high burnout so it's okay for you to have your little spirit of ideas and then sort of relax a little bit and but it's always always an engaging program it doesn't matter yeah did you run into any roadblocks or challenges with the risk assessment or risk analysis and how did you work through those yeah we've had a couple I love your hair so everyone's gonna look at you now sorry hello everyone we've had the odd occasion particularly first when I said you know I just jumped in straightaway and probably didn't think those sorts of things through very carefully in the beginning but you know you learn now I'm very careful when I pick up the calendar of events and I go oh cooking good what are we cooking and what we have has there naked flames people are pretty sensible we haven't you know apart from the naked flame cooking the one pot cooking things but what we mitigate it now you know we just we go away and we do our risk assessment which is a huge amount of paperwork but it's worth doing it's just you know we'll do it once and then we'll roll that program out across the city if it's worthwhile I was just regarding your community programs when you mention you've conduct 2,000 of them do you have a budget I know you mentioned 14,000 across yeah how do you go about marketing your those programs do you have a marketing budget at all here's a long story yeah I was going to talk about a little bit about promotion but I realized somebody after us was doing it we used to publish a little calendar of events and the the price escalation and that it needed to come inside to be designed and then the prices just went through the roof so we've stopped doing that and we just do it online and I have one part-time staff member who just pulls together an e-newsletter and we published that and the links in the a newsletter linked directly to our booking system so and you can open it up on your phone it's actually much better than the little book although people were wedded to it open it up on your phone find your program click on it book seesee so no we don't have a marketing budget hi Alison you know as people have been mentioning with the increasing restraints on libraries budgeting and so forth from the local government areas have you found that you've had any kind of pressure put on sort of cost recovery by going down the commercial route having to sell merchandise or renting out meeting rooms and all of that to sort of offset some of the costs and costs is kind of a non-negotiable we just keep pushing about yes it comes up we even had a counselor say you know at the last budget meeting couldn't we charge five dollars each for membership or something so fortunately she just got booed down but it comes up all the time way and we just keep pushing back we just feel like if we open that little doorway just a little bit that they're just going to get a wedge in there and keep pushing so we just keep slamming it shut once again I'd like to thank Allison for her great presentation I've certainly learned a few things from that and I'm sure she'll take some more questions as we all go to lunch [Applause]