VICLINK (Victorian Public Library and Information Network) is the peak body for Victorian public libraries, comprising representatives of every public library in the state. Viclink was formed in 1989, succeeding Minterlib, the Municipal Library Loans Committee. Its role is to advocate on behalf of public libraries and advance the interests of public libraries and the provision of services by Victorian public libraries to members and staff of public libraries. In 1991, Viclink became an incorporated body under the Associations Act. Membership is institutional, according to a range of categories stated in the Viclink Constitution.
Viclink aims to assist, encourage, protect and promote the interests of people using the library services and the staff of public libraries. It acts as a forum for discussion of library issues and to foster, encourage, promote and enhance collaboration. Some of Viclink’s strategic relationships include:
Australian Library and Information Association
Councils and Regional Library Corporation Boards
Country Public Libraries Group
Department for Victorian Communities
Library Board of Victoria
Municipal Association of Victoria
National Library of Australia
Public Libraries Australia
State Library of Victoria
The Viclink Executive Committee comprises 10 members, including at least one non-metropolitan representative. Elected at the Annual General Meeting held in August each year, officers are elected for one year and may seek a further two one year terms. The Executive Committee is responsible to the members, empowered to act within the policy framework determined by its members. An Annual Report, including a Financial Statement, is presented at each AGM.
Vision: Strength and excellence through collaboration
Mission: To facilitate collective strategies and initiatives enabling Victorian Public Libraries to deliver enhanced services to their users
Victorian Public Libraries
Victorian public libraries have a proud tradition of providing free and impartial service and information to all members of the community regardless of race, creed, colour, ability or gender. There are:
44 library services, including the Vision Australia for the visually impaired, serving a population of 5.187million
These 44 library services, either as regional libraries or as single-municipality services, provide free public library services to 79 Victorian local government areas.
There are 225 permanent branches, a further 56 other service outlets/joint use libraries and 29 mobile library vehicles.
There are 1,504.7 equivalent full-time staff working in Victorian public libraries, of which 526.4 EFT are qualified librarians. There are 2,644 staff working in public libraries across Victoria.
43 library services provide some form of home library service, reaching over 23,000 people across the State.
Local Government primarily funds the Victorian public library system, with support from the State Government.
Total expenditure on public libraries in 2003/04 was $135,297,176 of which State Government funding, including ‘Living Libraries‘ grant funding comprised $25,798,000.
Victorian Public Libraries provide a free service, with membership open to all residents of the State of Victoria. The range of resources provided covers all the traditional print formats, audio-visual items such as videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs as well as access to a wide range of electronic databases and the Internet. Most libraries also provide word-processing, photocopying, a range of learning programs and other services as part of their day-to-day operations.
As documented in the landmark Libraries Building Communities research reports, which document the views of 10,000 Victorians, one of Victoria’s greatest strengths is our public library system. Public libraries undertake a vital community building role making a fundamental contribution to community wellbeing in 4 key areas: Overcoming the digital divide; creating informed communities; providing convenient and comfortable places of lifelong learning and; Building social capital.
The total dollar investment in public libraries across Victoria in 2003/04 was $135,297,176, including both State and Local Government expenditure.
So… what did the Victorian public get for their investment in their public libraries?
The Victorian public library collection includes 8,893,300 items. At an average cost of $27 per item the library collection would cost $240,119,100 to replace.
In 2003/04 there were 47,070,920 loans of library materials. If Victorian public library members had had to buy those items, at an average cost of $27 per item, then they would have spent $1,270,914,840. This represents $505 per member.
There were1,393,092 Internet computer bookings across the State. If the bookings were made at Internet café rates of $5 per half hour, the cost would have been $6,965,460 to those library users.
Public Library Services across the State answered 2,535,940 reference inquiries. At an average length of 5 minutes, these represent about $12,679,700 worth of consulting time, if charged at a nominal rate of $60 per hour
In addition they provided a range of learning programs and special projects including storytimes, holiday programs, English as a Second Language classes, Internet training, multicultural services, access to meeting spaces and a variety of cultural and recreational activities.
Develop a position on sustainable funding for Victorian Public Libraries
Increased per capita funding from State Government
Review of current funding agreement
An informed and engaged membership
Hold a Viclink annual planning session to develop forward plans and feedback.
Work in conjunction with DVC and SLV to hold a bi-annual retreat for all library managers
Hold bi-monthly meetings for all members
Develop information sessions to inform library staff on Viclink activities
Provide communication and discussion through the use of a list server
Biannual - April
Successful feedback – development of forward plans ratified by members
Successful feedback – satisfaction rating >85%
Successful feedback – satisfaction rating >85%
Hold 2 workshops per year
Active use of the list server
Ensure outside organisations consult with Viclink
Actively promote Viclink through the use of a website and introduction kit.
Launch of website and kit
Development of guidelines and position statements
Develop Viclink statements on various aspects of library service – eg Internet filtering, sponsorship, etc
Statements/guidelines available for members.
Goal 2: Collaboration and Co-operation
To deliver innovation, improved value and improved service for Victorian Public Libraries and their communities
To coordinate and develop projects and work groups
Provide economies of scale in sharing resources
Maintain and develop the Gulliver/Bruce consortium
Kinetica – continue to work with NLA to develop a beneficial pricing regime for Victorian Libraries
PicVic – broaden membership and access to digital local history content
Newspaper subscriptions – economy of scale
State-wide Training – providing tailored training packages for libraries
Take a leadership role in developing other purchasing initiatives
Reduced costs to participating libraries
Successful implementation of the initial tranche?? of libraries
Increase consortium membership
Develop process to reach agreement on access to materials, shared data, etc.
February/October 2006 Ongoing
Installation of initial 7 libraries
Work in collaboration and partnership with organisations that share a common goal
Review current memberships including PLA, Internet Society of Australia and
National Library of Australia
Review Partnership Agreements
Report to Viclink. Evaluate outcomes
Report to Viclink. Evaluate outcomes
Improved access to resources by the Victorian Public
Develop principles and guidelines for shared data and access to materials
Portal project and Swift are ‘compatible’
Collections Audit Project
identify the major issues – advocacy by Viclink
Participate in the ‘Think tank/expert group’ project
System introduced and operational
Discuss and develop position
Develop succession planning for Victorian Library profession as a whole
Actively participate in the Workforce sustainability project working group
Identify Viclink role in Implementing the recommendations
Report back to membership
Work closely with partners to further develop services and other areas of co-operation
Develop partnership agreement with SLV re Picture Victoria
Develop partnership agreement with the MAV
Sign partnering agreement with MAC
Work with DVC to improve accuracy and quality of annual survey
Partnership agreement developed
Improvements to survey
Goal 3: Finance and Management
To ensure Viclink is a professionally managed, financially viable organisation
Establish sustainable governance structure
Develop a case and actively seek DVC funding for ongoing sustainability of Viclink
Develop a viable business case for Viclink
Employ Executive Officer
New structure adopted
Executive Officer employed
Maintain budgetary processes that are transparent and responsible
Employ a secretariat who will assist in budget processes
Annually re-asses fee structure
Maintain accurate and reliable records of all meetings and decisions
December each year
Feedback from members. Audit report
Ensure ongoing participation by members
Develop succession planning process for the Viclink Exec.
By December 2005
Plan agreed to by Viclink members.
Ministerial Advisory Council - DVC
Advisory Committee on Public Libraries - Library Board of Victoria
Municipal Association of Victoria - Swift Steering Committee – Partnership agreement
Viclink collaborates with a range of organisations representing government at the State and Local level.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee comprises representatives from State Government, Local Government, Viclink, and State Library of Victoria to provide advice to the Minister for Local Government on policy issues for Victorian Public Libraries. The MAC has developed a vision for future Public Library development:
The Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC) on Public Libraries and VicLink have developed a long term strategy for public libraries in Victoria based on the following vision. This vision must be supported by the ILMS and associated services.
Our vision is that The Library will be your consistent partner throughout your journey of life long learning acting as a broker and trusted guide to a wealth of valuable content.
Our vision is that The Library is seen by decision makers as one of the most important and effective investments in building an innovative state with caring communities.
As we progress through life our motives for interacting with libraries change, so also does the access that we have to a Library’s services, for example, when we graduate from college we may no longer have access to the resources of the college Library.
The vision is to bring together all of these disparate interactions and to give the authorised user a consistent and coherent interaction that will stay with them throughout their life long journey. It will provide access to all of the Libraries resources throughout the authorised user’s life.
At each stage of the journey the authorised user’s experience of The Library will be personalised to best support their current needs. The authorised user will access My Library, which will grow and change with them but will always be a point of access to The Library.
Whilst schools, colleges, institutes, universities, professional bodies, societies and clubs etc., all play a critical role in the journey of life long learning, our vision is that The Library is the one consistent organisation that is with them from beginning to end.
The Library will open the door to an unbelievable wealth of authoritative content resources and information services; acting as a trusted partner in guiding the authorised user through the maze of information and knowledge discovery.
Advisory Council on Public Libraries (Library Board of Victoria)
The Advisory Committee on Public Libraries (ACPL) provides the Library Board of Victoria with a direct link to the public library network. Established in July 2003, it comprises 2 members of the Library Board of Victoria, the CEO of the State Library of Victoria, 2 Viclink representatives, 2 CPLG representatives and a representative from the MAV. The role of the ACPL is to provide communication and consultation channels between the various groups and the Library Board of Victoria.
The Library Board of Victoria has responsibilities in relation to public libraries as defined in the Libraries Act 1988:
to oversee cooperation in programs with libraries and related organisations
exercise leadership and promote high standards in the provision of library and information services
provide advice and information the the Minister (for the Arts) and any matters concerning libraries and information organisations
As a member of ACPL, Viclink will continue to monitor and review the ACPL Framework for Collaboration
Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)
Viclink and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) are developing a partnership based a round areas of mutual interest. The MAV by Act of Parliament 1907 is the legislated peak body representing the 79 Victorian Councils. These Councils are the owners, operators and majority funders of the public library services in Victoria. The MAV is the lead negotiator between local government and other spheres of government and acts as the advocate for councils on policy, funding, and program priorities.
The MAV and Viclink are currently collaborating on the SWIFT project, and this may lead to further opportunities for collaboration.
Viclink Sub-Committees A range of Viclink sub-committees of library professionals facilitates Viclink’s objectives in the development of library services and facilities. At least six ordinary meetings of Viclink members are held each year. These meetings provide a forum for policy and planning development, talks and demonstrations on emerging trend and innovations, an opportunity for networking, discussion and debate.
Children and Youth Services
Home Library Services
Inter Library Loans
The SWIFT Initiative
The Collections Co-operative has been operating for many years as a forum for the discussion of collection based issues and as a reference group to and subcommittee of Viclink.
To provide an information exchange and forum on trends and issues in public library collection management.
To develop guidelines for collection management on a state-wide basis.
To develop qualitative and quantitative performance indicators related to collection management.
To initiate and support research into collection development and management issues.
To promote an awareness of collection development and collection issues through Victorian public libraries.
The Gulliver Consortium allows libraries, public and otherwise, to access high quality online databases at reduced prices. Library patrons are able to access these databases from the library branch, or anywhere else they have internet access. Our main business is liaison with vendors, evaluating databases, promoting them to libraries, and facilitating libraries access to databases. A Steering Committee facilitates the choice of databases to be included in Gulliver. The committee is made up of Public librarians from many different fields, currently working in Victorian libraries. These librarians have volunteered to go on this committee, and their commitment, and that of their library services, is very high.
The Gulliver Consortium's mission is to:
enhance access to information and knowledge through cooperation among the member institutions for the benefit of their user communities;
provide information resources in an equitable, cooperative and cost-effective manner;
ensure state-wide access to a core level of materials and information services, regardless of geographic location, size of library services or mode of information/library delivery; and;
place the public library at the forefront of the delivery of current and free information.
PicVic initially evolved as a pilot, out of state-wide project activity, such as ‘Victoria Visualised: the Victorian Local History Digitisation study’ (2001), and the subsequent online training manual (Image Digitisation of Local History Collections). Training to support local digitisation initiatives was also offered to libraries in 2002/03.
Picture Victoria shifted from being managed as a Statewide Project by the PLU, to Viclink administration in mid-2005. This is unchartered territory for Viclink. PicVic offers the opportunity for Viclink to play a leading role in the digitisation of Victorian pictorial content, complementing existing collections such as the State Library’s Picture catalogue and Picture Australia.
Continue development of PicVic to provide access to Victorian local history image collections via a central portal
Formalise new project management/governance structure
Increase membership/scope of PicVic
Formed in the early 1990s. Meets quarterly.
To provide a forum to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences which enhance the quality of Reference and Information Services in Victorian public libraries.
To provide a forum to examine and discuss trends and issues in reference and information services in Victorian public libraries.
To develop guidelines for the management of Reference collections, including online resources, on a statewide basis.
To monitor performance indicators related to Reference collections.
To initiate and support research into Reference and Information Services and management issues.
To promote an awareness of the provision of Reference and Information Services through Victorian public libraries.
Four Libraries (supported by a number of other interested libraries) formed an informal consortium called Swift in 2004. A call for EOI in providing a shared Integrated Library Management System (ILMS) occurred in September 2004, and the results indicated both operational benefits and costs savings.
Over the past two years the concept of a shared ILMS has developed substantially, with 7 libraries committed to the initial tender process, and a further libraries interested in later stages. The project has developed in significance and complexity, with the MAC supporting the long term development a state-wide ILMS project from the original concept. This MAC vision extends beyond the sharing of an ILMS towards seamless public library service for all Victorians across the State, including cross-sectoral library links.
Viclink and the MAV have formed a partnership to undertake the formal RFP and tender process, with the MAC and DVC providing both political and financial support. The participating libraries are committing significant time and resources to the project.
The tender process is due to commence shortly, followed by system selection and first stage implementation.
Implement a scalable ILMS solution capable of expansion to support large numbers of public libraries across Victoria
Achieve improved service provision to the communities served by the participating libraries while obtaining economies of scale in ILMS operating costs, technology infrastructure improvements and shared use of resources
Libraries Australia Subcommittee
to promote stronger awareness and use of the Viclink Libraries Australia site license amongst Victorian Public Libraries
to develop, in partnership with Libraries Australia and vendors, a series of practical options to achieve accurate holdings on the National Bibliographic Database (NBD) and to ensure ongoing accurate holdings
to promote wider contribution of holdings to the NBD by Victorian Public Libraries (especially in under-represented collections, eg. FIC, LOTE, AV, Children’s, Local History etc.)
to promote the benefits of resource sharing
Until July 2005, the training calendar and programme for public libraries was funded and managed by the State Library of Victoria. Since July 2005 it has now fallen under the auspices of Viclink and all courses are now based on cost recovery. Issues faced by libraries with the change to the training program include:
management of training calendar
coordination of training courses
willingness of libraries to have staff now involved in full cost recovery courses
development of a training strategy for public libraries
is there future for a central training programme
Development of a strategic plan in the provision and development of training opportunities to Victorian public libraries that is sustainable
Development of a focused financial plan for the implementation of training programmes
Effective promotion of training programmes to the public library sector through identification of key contacts and personnel
Review the state-wide training calendar
Investigate feedback from training needs survey to further identify implications, costs and staffing needs
Implement training programmes that best meet customer needs including timing, content and location
Inter Library Loans Subcommittee
Raising profile of ILLs as a core service in all Victorian Public Libraries
Investigate better access to material originally sourced from Victorian Public Libraries now held at the CARM Centre
Consistent copyright compliance in Victorian Public Libraries for ILLs
Establish stronger relationships with Public Library ILL services interstate
Children’s & Youth Services Sub-committee
The VICLINK CYSS exists in response to the perceived need for extra training, resource-sharing and networking opportunities. These needs are often difficult to meet within the constraints of individual workplaces.
Provide free or low-cost training opportunities to library staff at all levels involved in providing services to children and teenagers
Provide meetings in readily accessible venues of a suitable size, in which participants can share their experiences of providing successful children’s services
Facilitate these meetings at least twice a year so that a wide range of staff can attend, especially those who are entry-level librarians (or children’s specialists) who appreciate the chance to meet others working in the field
Provide a forum to discuss matters of common interest or concern, which can lead to action in the form interest groups or lobby groups, including recommendations to bodies such as VICLINK
GLOSSARY ACPL Advisory Council for Public Libraries
AGM Annual General Meeting
ALIA Australian Library and Information Association
CARM store CAVAL Academic Research Materials store
CAVAL Cooperative Action by Victorian Academic Libraries
CPLG Country Public Libraries Group
DHS Department of Human Services
DSE Department of Sustainability and Environment
DVC Department for Victorian Communities
Gulliver/Bruce Consortium of Victorian public libraries to purchase online databases
ILL Inter Library Loan
LBC Libraries Building Communities – a major study of the benefits of public libraries to their communities
LBV Library Board of Victoria
LGV Local Government Victoria
Lib Mark Library Marketing State-wide project Committee
Libraries Australia The National Library of Australia access point for the National Bibliographic Database
MAV Municipal Association of Victoria
MMV Multi-Media Victoria
MAC Ministerial Advisory Council (Minister for Local Government)
NGO Non Government Organisation
NLA National Library of Australia
PicVic Picture Victoria a project to manage digitisation of Victorian pictorial content
PLA Public Libraries Australia
SLV State Library of Victoria
SWIFT A consortium to purchase an Integrated Library Management System
Viclink Victorian Public Library and Information Network