4.4 Using libraries for lifelong learning | Brisbane City Council

4.4 Using libraries for lifelong learning

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Table of contents

1. Pedestrian mobility and transport

1.1 Walking, wheeling and driving safely around Brisbane

1.2 Catching public transport

2. Planning, development and infrastructure

2.1 Being actively engaged in planning an accessible city

2.2 Enjoying a well-designed built environment

2.3 Appreciating the benefits of civic infrastructure

3. Public buildings, venues and outdoor spaces

3.1 Public buildings that make you feel welcome

3.2 People friendly public spaces

3.3 Local meeting places where you can connect with your community

3.4 Parks and natural areas where you enjoy the great outdoors

4.Vibrant, informed and caring communities

4.1 Experiencing the support of inclusive, safe and diverse communities

4.2 Enjoying Brisbane's vibrant arts and culture scene

4.3 Staying active and healthy

4.4 Using libraries for lifelong learning

4.5 Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle

5. Your Council, working with you

5.1 Being an active citizen in an inclusive democracy

5.2 Having a say on the work we do that matters to you

5.3 Communicating and doing business with us

5.4 Understanding how local laws, rules and procedures relate to you

5.5 Keeping Brisbane clean, recycling waste and breathing clean air

5.6 Working in a disability confident organisation

5.7 Knowing your rates are paying for accessible services

Council's public library service is a network of 33 branches in suburbs across Brisbane as well as City Archives and a mobile library. Through this network, over 6 million visitors every year access information and opportunities for lifelong learning, recreational reading and cultural activities that are integral to a smart-thinking, easy-living, world class city.

Membership is free and gives access to physical and online collections and resources, borrowing from one branch and returning to another, recreation and learning programs catering for all ages and skill levels and friendly, skilled library staff.

Where we are

Council's library services are offered in a variety of formats, physical and online, to allow our customers to choose their preferred mode of access.

Library buildings are physically accessible. All have accessible entrances and internal library space allows for movement of wheelchairs, after hours' book return chutes are at an accessible height, public toilets in libraries are wheelchair accessible and there are hearing loops in community meeting rooms at Brisbane Square and Kenmore Libraries. However, community members have reported that some library facilities (such as computer desks) are difficult to access for people in larger electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

Library collections are available to all library members for recreation and information. The collection includes large print books and magazines, audio books, subtitled DVDs, literacy materials and downloadable content. Health information is available in print and online formats, giving customers, including carers, up-to-date information to assist them with disability or illness. Audio and video materials such as CDs and DVDs are monitored to ensure they are in good condition. We appreciate feedback from customers when they return items to assist us to keep these items in good working order.

Library staff liaise with various community organisations about the needs of their members and organise inclusive responses. For example, in partnership with Deaf Services Queensland we have delivered a four week computer course to members of the Deaf community at the Brisbane Square and Garden City libraries. Libraries employ a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve and library staff have been trained to recognise and respond to their customers' needs.

In a world increasingly driven by technology, our library services are constantly challenged to keep up with the latest developments in assistive technologies. New electronic and digital formats for books, games and other mixed media are continually emerging with the expectation that these be publicly available and accessible. The challenge for our libraries is to respond to these opportunities within budget and human resource constraints.

Where we want to be

We want our libraries to be vibrant hubs where all sorts of lifelong learners share their knowledge in a rich exchange of experience and ideas, relax on their own with a book, attend learning activities and use technologies to create and distribute their own material.

Our objectives

  1. Continue to build an accessible and inclusive collection featuring materials in new media.
  2. Respond to community needs with appropriate services, programs and learning opportunities that are inclusive of everyone.
  3. Extend our connections with appropriate stakeholders to create awareness of Council's library services so that their members come with an anticipation of inclusion when they visit our libraries or access services online.
  4. Explore the potential for new technologies to increase accessibility of information, recreational materials and learning opportunities.

Existing actions that will continue

Accessible materials for people to borrow

We will continue to build an accessible collection that includes new large print books and magazines, audio books, downloadable content, subtitled DVDs and literacy materials. We will also continue to work with various groups and organisations who have specific requests to ensure that our collections represent the varied information interests and needs of the community.

Home Library Service

We will continue to deliver library items to people's homes every 28 days as a free service to Brisbane residents who are unable to visit a library due to illness, disability or frailty. Customers with internet access are able to select and place holds on items which are then included in their usual delivery. Customers who do not have internet access receive items that are selected for them on the basis of their stated preferences.

Audio Book Postal Service

We will continue our service whereby library staff select and post audio books to customers who are legally blind and reside in Brisbane. Postal costs are fully absorbed by Australia Post.

Technology in libraries assisting accessibility

We will continue to provide accessible Information and Communications Technology facilities:

  • all public internet computers have an interface that includes on-screen keyboard, narrator and magnifier
  • customers using library computers have access to adaptive peripherals that include BigKeys keyboards and ergonomic mice
  • every library has some public computers with ergonomic arms so the position of the monitor can be adjusted to meet the needs of different users
  • self checkout machines are easy for most people to use and library staff assist customers who are not able to or do not wish to use self checkouts
  • our eLibCat library catalogue is compatible with screen reader software, whether accessed in the libraries or at home via the internet
  • free Wi-Fi is available to library members at all branches
  • in response to community feedback, as funding and space permits we intend to make all computer desks for customers accessible by people in large electric wheelchairs

Inclusive computer classes

We will continue to provide iSkills computer classes at all library branches. No cost is involved and all skill levels are catered for. We will customise computer classes to meet specific needs by arrangement with community organisations.

Ask a Librarian

We will continue this online service which enables customers to email queries and requests to Library Services.

Library programs celebrating diversity

We will continue to offer free programs such as music, talks and seminars including some with a focus on celebrating diversity and inclusion.

New initiatives or extensions

  1. Partnerships to design inclusive programs. Over the life of this plan, we will continue to work with Deaf Services Queensland to offer learning opportunities including computer classes and Auslan/English storytimes, work with Vision Australia and others to investigate opportunities for book talks for customers with low vision and explore new opportunities with other community groups.
  2. New technologies transforming accessibility. We recognise that new technologies have the potential to transform the accessibility of our library services. Over the life of this plan, we will:
    1. Complete the rollout of ergonomic arms to all public computers in libraries.
    2. Rollout new Radio-Frequency Identification technology that will make the process of borrowing materials easier.
    3. Install on catalogue computers in libraries the same interface (with on-screen keyboard, narrator and magnifier) that we currently have on our public internet computers.
    4. Develop a closer working relationship with Council's Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Forum and Web Accessibility Working Group to seek advice on proposed new technologies.

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03 November 2014