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March 21st, 2017

Library loans list reflects strong cultural diversity in local communities in support of Harmony Day

  • Almost 50 languages and dialects available to borrow from Australia’s public libraries
  • Chinese language resources dominated Civica’s list of Australia’s most borrowed community language library resources in 2016

Melbourne, 21 March, 2017 – New research by Civica, Australia’s leading provider of library information and collection management solutions through its market leading Spydus portfolio, reveals that Chinese language books and media are the most popular library resources in Australia that cater to members who consume media in languages other than English. Just under 750,000 Chinese language loans were processed last year. Interestingly, the data also showed that just under 50 languages and dialects are available to borrow in public library collections across Australia.

Civica is announcing its research findings and index results on library resources in community languages to coincide with Harmony Day, a day to celebrate cultural diversity and show social cohesion and inclusion in Australian communities.

Key highlights

Community language resources made up 4.4 percent of all library loans in 2016, according to Civica’s loans index. It also reveals that Vietnamese was the second most popular language behind Chinese, followed by Russian, Greek and Japanese, which rounded out the top five.

Unsurprisingly, the results showed that those libraries located within council areas with high immigrant populations revealed the highest level of non-English library loans. Interestingly, however, the data also highlighted the incredible vastness and variety of language resources available not only in metro libraries with large immigrant populations, but in regional libraries too. For instance, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries in South East Queensland has a collection of up to 20 languages to choose from. Even regional areas such as Noosa processed almost 1,000 community language loans in 2016.

According to the Civica data, not only are the globally most spoken languages included in Australian library collections, but also many languages with less than 10 million speakers worldwide, such as Assyrian, Lao, indigenous Australian languages and African languages including Tigrinya and Obulom.

Commenting on the index results, Simon Jones, Libraries and Education Solutions Managing Director at Civica said: “As the focal point for community participation, it is important that public libraries can offer resources, books and activities which encourage inclusiveness and a sense of belonging for everyone, no matter what language they speak.”

According to Civica’s recent report, ‘The intrinsic value of libraries as public spaces’, the provision of support for migrant and non-English speaking members of the community is viewed by library managers as a core responsibility of local library services.

Inclusivity in practice: Fairfield City Open Libraries 

Fairfield City Open Libraries in NSW topped Civica’s list comparing the ratios of community language resources to total loans, with such loans making up more than one quarter of Fairfield’s total loans.

The majority (52.5%) of Fairfield City’s population were born outside of Australia. The largest groups were born in Vietnam, Iraq, China, Cambodia and Philippines.

According to Luke Carter, Adult Programs and Outreach Support Librarian at Fairfield City Open Libraries, the emphasis of the public library, particularly within multicultural communities, is moving towards community engagement programs that promote wellbeing, creativity, learning and community connections.

“As books collections increasing go digital and bookshelves go online, floor space is being freed up and at the same time we’re needing to explore the answer to the question of ‘how do we get people to physically go to the library if our main drawcard is exclusively online?’ I think the answer to that question is library programs. It’s about ensuring libraries remain relevant to communities,” said Carter.

Fairfield City Open Libraries offer a variety of unique programs to help encourage community engagement, education and better health. For instance, the library runs a number of wellbeing programs for Vietnamese speaking women, such as yoga and meditation, as well as Zumba classes, which attract between 60-70 attendees per class.

The library also runs a number of creative programs, such as classes where people can learn English while creating art. In addition, Fairfield facilitates a range of other initiatives that foster community connections, such as karaoke, which is attended by up to 30 women each week. A lot of the women didn’t know each other before, but are now really good friends, according to Carter.

Providing equitable access for all: Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation

Like Fairfield, Whitehorse and Manningham councils in Victoria are diverse communities, with over 30 percent of their populations born overseas. The majority of overseas born residents in both areas were born in China, the UK, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Italy and Greece[1][2].

Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation ranks number one on the list of most borrowed community language loans by library, with over 250,000 loans processed in 2016.

“As a public library our role is to be responsive to community needs. It is as such very important that our collections reflect the demographic of the community, it’s about catering to the needs, interests and demands of the population. For example, we hold a Chinese language resource selection day each year to ensure that the large number of Chinese speaking members within our community have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on collection development,” said Katie Norton, Manager of Collections and Information Services at Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation.

Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation also runs a range of programs throughout the year that help to offer practical skills and information for the proportion of new residents whose English language proficiency may be limited.

“We hold events such as law information sessions to help new residents to Australia learn and understand their basic legal rights and responsibilities. We also hold workshops on how to find employment and study options in Australia, as well as how to access government services online through MyGov. Next year we are also looking into English tutoring programs and conversation circles,” said Norton.

As part of its values in providing equitable access for all, Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation utilises Civica’s online library catalogue software which offers language options in both English and Chinese.

“Offering a Chinese language catalogue is a core community service for us as it equips our vast Cantonese language speaking community with the ability to search, read and share information in their native language,” said Norton.


About the data collection method

The Civica Libraries Index is compiled in partnership with participating libraries using the Civica Spydus integrated library management system. The system was developed in Australia and is used by libraries around the world. Civica reviewed more than 30 million library loans across Australia to help determine the country’s most borrowed community language resources.  Data was gathered over a 12 month period from January 2016 to December 2016. All information on borrowing behaviours is collected anonymously. Civica is Australia’s leading provider of library information and collection management solutions. More information about Civica can be found at:


Download Civica’s International Harmony Day Infographic


March 16th, 2017

Public libraries are bridging the gap and stimulating STEAM activities

SYDNEY, Australia, 16 March, 2017 - Public libraries are increasingly looking to reaffirm their crucial role within the community by offering activities and services that will help community members improve their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) skills. This week, some great examples of STEAM focused activities and services are going to be showcased at “STEAM into Sydney”. This event is part of the IFLA (International Federation of Library  Associations) Public Libraries Section’s Mid Term meeting, which is taking place in Australia for the first time, and is supported by Civica, Australia’s leading provider of library information and collection management solutions.

According to recent data, Australia is lagging behind in the STEAM fields due to an apparent lack of cooperation between industries and universities. An Australian Industry Group report[1] from March 2015 revealed that “Australia has a declining rate of STEM-related course completions, which have decreased over the past 10 years from 22 per cent to 16 per cent”.

Public libraries across the country are trying to bridge this communication gap between institutions and community members by offering more activities and services that will stimulate the community’s interaction with technology. An in-depth survey into the value of libraries as public spaces undertaken by Civica and the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG), “The intrinsic value of libraries as public spaces”[2], found a very strong belief that libraries of the future will become community support centres. In many cases they will need to open for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Some public libraries in Sydney are already offering classes dedicated to coding, robotics to children, teenagers, and even adults. Leichardt Library in NSW, for example, recently noticed that children living in the area were very interested in coding and other related subjects. As a result, the library decided to launch a coding club, inspired by a similar program developed by Randwick City Library. The program has proven to be a huge confidence boost for many kids.

According to Selina Breckenridge, Digital Librarian at Inner West Council, participants have begun to share their achievements with their peers at school and families at home and are much more outgoing. The program currently caters to 8 to 11 year olds.

“Books and libraries aren’t seen as ‘cool’ and so being able to encourage STEAM skill development by targeting the children’s interest in coding has been a highly successful initiative for us,” said Selina.

Another innovative STEAM focused initiative has been implemented by the City of Ryde Council. Ryde Library Service recognises the important role that public libraries play in engaging young minds by providing access to technology and learning opportunities to enhance individual creativity and innovation. The library has developed a technology space that offers STEAM programs and resources for 3 to 12 year olds.

The West Ryde Library is now strategically using its spaces to incorporate technology to inspire creativity in kids. Highlight technology includes the ‘Children’s Cabinet of Curiosities’, as well as features such as microscopes and other science kits to borrow.

Jill Webb, Manager Library Service at City of Ryde Council, believes that there is now a whole new world for the users to discover, “It is like a museum mixed with a library, we had elements of a museum incorporated and when the kids come they’re inspired by new ideas and technology.”

Covering the theme of STEAM for the first time, the event ‘STEAM in Sydney’ will showcase the projects mentioned above, but also a number of others from Australia and overseas. Programs developed by public libraries in Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, United States and Norway will also be exhibited.

Jan Richards, Manager at Central West Libraries and the conference convenor highlights the fact that STEAM discussions are increasingly becoming more crucial for councils, communities and citizens in order to provide more activities that address the current needs of children, teenagers and older people.

“Libraries are increasingly adopting technology as a way to deliver services, i.e audiobooks, e-books, social media, so when you engage with your community you need to be able to get them to access all of it, and also give them the skills”, said Jan.

According to the Civica and UTS research, the future vision of a library, is of a one-stop-shop providing community support from unemployment assistance to health advice and to community learning and business development. “Civica, with its extensive knowledge and experience in both the libraries and education technology sector is well placed to navigate STEAM issues and is pleased to be moderating a panel as part of the programme”, said Simon Jones, Civica Libraries and Education Managing Director.

The event in Sydney was sold out in two weeks, but for those who can’t attend in person, the STEAM into Sydney website program will be live streamed.

[2] “The intrinsic value of libraries as public spaces”, Civica and the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG)

February 5th, 2017

Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) update

Project Eureka

“Project Eureka” with the Ministry of Education (MOE) started in 2005. This is our 12th year in progress and the Project is one of its kind with a consortium model of 370 schools using the Spydus Integrated Library Management System.  Most schools have also opted to have a Civica School Librarian to operate their libraries. Our Civica library staff play an important role in helping the MOE achieve its bigger vision “Building a sustainable reading culture”. They work with the school teachers on the reading programmes conducted in the school. Schools that subscribed to Civica’s manpower services  are also offered 80 reading programme packages with resources, developed based on  themes such as  World events, Authors and Genres. With a shift in focus by MOE for the 3rd contract that started in 2015, we also now provide a bi- annual collection profiling report – an analysis on each school’s collection, loan and borrowing trends.


Tales of  ’S’ continues 

Tales of ‘S’ is one of the most popular annual programmes for students across Singapore. It is a creative writing competition in which students submit short stories based on a theme, with the winning entries published as a limited edition print book for winners and an eBook made available across all MOE school libraries. This the 7th year of competition and we have over 250 published student authors to date. The theme of this year’s short story is “superpowers”. We look forward to the student submissions on this theme!



Closely related to our long standing  Project Eureka  is Read@Academy, the library serving the  Academy of Singapore Teachers under the Ministry of Education.  Read@Academy is the latest win under Managed Libraries in Singapore for both LMS and Manpower Services.  With a go-live date set for Jan 1 this year, it was a race for the Singapore’s Implementation team. Unlike other implementations, this project had to meet some stringent security requirements set by the authority IMDA’s CyberWatch Centre, Singapore’s infocomm security watchdog. The team completed the implementation with zero vulnerabilities! This would not have been possible without the great team work from the Civica Global Team.

Our team of Civica librarians took over the library operations on 3rd Jan, providing services that include the School Delivery Service and Mobile Library Service. The School Delivery Service is a special service provided to deliver books reserved by teachers to their schools,  all over the island. The Mobile Library Service aims to promote the library’s resources to teachers at events organised by the schools or the Ministry. Our library staff would facilitate the borrowing of these resources.

February 3rd, 2017

News beyond libraries

Civica Libraries & Education is part of the wider Civica International Group.  If you’re interested to know more about the recent activities and achievement by our other business units select  the links below.

The Changing Landscape: Co-design; different ideas from a different voice

Some councils have had exceptional results by engaging their communities to collaboratively prioritise and design services for their citizens. This has not only resulted in efficient use of resources but also increased customer satisfaction levels. This is the power of co design.   Download the report here

Civica launches Community Protection division in ANZ

Civica launches Community Protection division in ANZ to build on global capabilities and landmark contract with Victorian State Government.   Read more here

Civica selected by Victoria state government to improve infringement management and citizen interaction

The Victorian State Government has awarded Civica a contract for the provision of an integrated Infringements Enforcement and Warrants Management System with ongoing support for 8 years.   Read more here

Department of Education Western Australia signs with Civica to launch education management platform

Civica has been awarded a new contract with the Department of Education Western Australia to implement a $32 million upgrade to the Department’s School Information System.   Read more here