Library Board Award for Innovation and Collaboration

2019 Awards announced!

The 2019 Library Board of Western Australia Award for Innovation and Collaboration was announced on 23 May 2019. Demonstrating the range and extent of the work being done by libraries for Western Australian communities, the following winners and nominees are acknowledged.

Small Regional category – WINNER

Collie Public Library, in collaboration with the Collie Community Garden, established the Collie Seed Library to create a self-sustaining source of seeds that are available to community members for free, to allow them to grow and consume fresh produce at home. The initiative demonstrates community collaboration to expand what a public library collection offers, expanding the services, reach and inclusion of the library while sharing knowledge and education to existing and new library users. It is a great fit for a public library to enrich both the body and the mind.

Small Regional category – COMMENDATION

Bindoon Public Library’s Little Free Libraries that make books, audio books and DVDs more accessible through the installation and ongoing maintenance of five roadside swap libraries in the form of beautiful seats with weather proof storage that encourage people to sit, enjoy and share stories. Several of the little libraries are in locations to serve remote community members and travellers. The initiative is a low cost, creative way to expand the reach of the library in remote areas of the Shire and has been enthusiastically embraced by the community and travellers alike.

Metropolitan and Large Regional – WINNER

City of Canning is transforming their library service to support its Learning City Strategy vision. In 2018, the Riverton Library reopened after extensive refurbishment with new spaces supporting flexible and dynamic use. With both technological and physical spaces that can be adapted the library is delivering an inclusive, connected and innovative community hub that serves both residents and the business community while bringing the two closer together. Local government business support integrated through public libraries capitalises on the Library’s reputation for being a safe, trusted space with access to lifelong learning opportunities supported by advanced technological access. Part of the initiative has focused on delivering a broader range of community learning opportunities that target business people including a mentoring program and workshops and training programs designed to build business connections, capacity and capability. The programs are delivered in partnerships and collaboration with trusted business innovation leaders, local businesses and other local governments. Building the capacity of local businesses supports the economic wellbeing of the whole community.

Metropolitan and Large Regional – COMMENDATION

Esperance Public Library has been assisting seniors with technology since 2013. In 2018, the library received a grant from the Good Things Foundation to employ a Project Officer to expand their Tech Help program with a goal of assisting 250 seniors within the Esperance Shire with technology issues and concerns. The judges were impressed by the level of collaboration with community groups and business providers to deliver programs that has meant the library is now recognised as the go to place for tech assistance and learning.

Metropolitan and Large Regional – other Nominees

Albany Public Library is leading the implementation and ongoing management of the Great Southern Regional Shared Library Management System launched in early 2018 across eight Shires with 12 public library branches. Transition to the new, shared system permits more efficient and effective public library collaboration across the region. The consortia arrangement has meant library users across the region have better access to more library materials. Local governments in the consortia have realised significant cost savings and efficiency benefits. Participating Shires are: Broomehill-Tambellup; Cranbrook; Denmark; Gnowangerup; Jerramungup; Katanning; Kojonup and Plantagenet.

The City of Armadale’s Birtwistle Local Studies Library BirtwistleWiki MediaWiki populated with World War One and Two records recognises the contribution made by servicemen and servicewomen from the local community. The wiki has now been expanded to include records from neighbouring local government areas – Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale and the City of Gosnells. ​BirtwistleWiki

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Library Service, in partnership with Be Connected, has refreshed its tutoring program for over 50s, Be Connected Online Tutoring, which encourages seniors to get online and stay online safely. Feedback from previous courses has informed the new program that is now a better fit with the needs of community members. The program demonstrates how public libraries can improve their user’s quality of by connecting then with appropriate skills and resources.

Bassendean Memorial Library uses Trove Lists to make their local history collection more accessible to the community. Trove Lists are an organisational method, essentially a book mark on a topic, person, place or thing that allows items catalogued on the National Library’s Trove discovery service to be listed under headings making it easier to access local history without the need for searching. Bassendean local history Trove Lists

Cockburn Libraries’ local history website, Cockburn History, brings together digitised library collections plus new historical research and writing. The Library’s local history collections were previously stored on various hosting sites with links from the library website, or were not publically available. The new website makes them all available in a single accessible website.

City of Rockingham Toy Library opened at the Rockingham Central Library in 2019. Previously run as a not for profit incorporated body, the toy library had moved several times in the past few years due to the lack of a suitable permanent home. The City of Rockingham created a new model for the toy library, integrating it into its public library service.


The Library Board of Western Australia Award for Innovation and Collaboration promotes innovation and collaboration in the library sector by any person, library or organisation in Western Australia. The award is open to all areas of the library industry, including academic, public, school and special libraries, as well as to other individuals and organisations that have an impact on the promotion, provision and support of library services in Western Australia.

This year the award will be made in two categories:

  • Small Regional ($5,000, certificate and publicity) - the library must serve a local government resident population of no more than 10,000 people.
  • Metropolitan and Large Regional (certificate and publicity) - the library must serve a local government resident population of more than 10,000 people.

For school, university libraries and special libraries, the judges will consider the location of any campuses/offices and the size of the enrolled student population/number of employees in determining what category the nomination will be considered for.

The Award is judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovation - how innovative, original, relevant and new is the nominated achievement to library services in Western Australia?
  • Collaboration – how the nominated achievement demonstrates collaboration with other government, for profit or not for profit organisations for the benefit of the community it serves?
  • Creativity - how creative, novel or unique is the nominated achievement? Does it solve a problem, is it a new way of working to deliver a library service or program, or is it something new in Western Australian libraries?
  • Impact - evidence of the extent and impact of the nominated achievement, and how it has contributed to the promotion, provision or support for library services in Western Australia.

The Award is for recent activity, rather than long and meritorious service.

Nominated initiatives should be complete or ongoing so that their community impact has been assessed.

The Award will return in 2020.

Past winners:

2018 – City of Armadale Libraries for its ConnectivED project

ConnectivED tied in with the launch of the NBN in the Armadale area, City of Armadale Libraries ran a pilot project with Telstra to provide free portable Internet access to local, disadvantaged Year 11 and Year 12 students with aspirations to higher education. Students who did not have a viable device to access the internet at home were also given the opportunity to borrow a smart device for the duration of the project.

Links with Curtin University also helped promote engagement opportunities for these prospective higher education students. A core library purpose is to provide free access to information. In our digital society, much of that information is accessible exclusively via the Internet. Without cheap and reliable access to the Internet, many people find it hard to access services, government support, education, banking, and employment. This project directly targeted at-risk youths and helped level the playing field in terms of education and opportunity.

The project also demonstrated the power of working with the business and the education sectors to deliver positive outcomes for our communities. The Judges commended City of Armadale for an initiative that removed social barriers, provided information access, allowed knowledge creation to flourish, and most of all, gave opportunity where it was most needed.

ConnectivED also has widespread application to other library services, not just those in local governments.

2017 – Shire of Irwin for its public library in Dongara

The public library in Dongara has taken an innovative approach to capturing and disseminating local history in the form of oral histories that record the stories of people in the community. The Shire of Irwin community have embraced the initiative and stories are now being shared via traditional library collections, social media and ABC Open.

Also Commended was the City of Wanneroo for the It’s All About the Play in the Library early childhood development program. The program provides the community a unique play environment for children and assists parents and carers to better understand the importance of play in early childhood development.

2016 – City of Cockburn for its Success Library

An innovative business model was developed after co-locating and partnering with a number of health and community services to deliver programs to its customers. Partners have included Curtin University, Centrelink and two not-for-profit job assistance programs to deliver programs to targeted demographic groups such as the Indigenous community, seniors and migrants. These accessible and affordable services include adult reading groups, free health checks and English conversation groups.

2015 – Curtin University Library for their Curtin AHEAD in School game-based learning activities.

The program was designed as part of the federally funded Curtin AHEAD (Addressing Higher Education Disadvantage) in School education program, which aims to introduce high school students from low socio-economic backgrounds to campus life and encourage them to aspire to a university education.

The learning activities use game based learning and augmented reality technology to teach high school students digital and information literacy skills. The program involves library staff assisting students to use a variety of educational apps and technologies which encourage students to engage with the library's collections and resources, while improving their information searching, evaluation and referencing skills in an enjoyable way.

2014 – The Grove Library for the local heritage mobile apps, 'History in your Pocket' and the 'Peppermint Grove History Trail'.

'History in your Pocket' showcases a sample of the local history collection, allowing users to listen to interviews with local people or view images and read stories describing life from the late 1800s through to modern life. The 'Peppermint Grove History Trail' uses the libraries archival material to provide users with historic images and narration about points of interest viewable along the heritage trail.

Both apps showcase how libraries can utilise new technology and software to create a digital presence and allow the community to interact with heritage material in a new, innovative way. 

2013 – Curtin University Library for their Virtual Bookshelf Technology.

The University's Virtual Bookshelf technology provides Curtin clients with a convenient browsing experience combining both physical and virtual book collections into one seamless display. As libraries purchase more digital books, while decreasing the number of physical books, it is difficult to promote these new resources to clients. This technology enables the library to showcase all collections in a bright, attractive way.

The Eaton Community Library was also recognised with a Highly Commended Certificate for their Books Alive event, which promoted the value and pleasure of reading and sharing stories with children of all ages.

2012 – City of Fremantle for their Outdoor Reading Room project. 

This program helped transform Kings Square (adjacent to the Fremantle City Library) from an area known for anti social behaviour into a social hub with a lively atmosphere. It was the venue not only for Fremantle's launch of the National Year of Reading, but for many other library activities including author talks, children's story time, the library's quarterly book sale, and a poet's breakfast.  It had such a positive impact on community spirit that due to popular demand, use of the outdoor reading room was extended to the end of April.

2011 – City of Wanneroo with their 'Books in a Bag' program.

The program provides sets of resources that book clubs can access, including book clubs in remote areas and from other library systems. The sets contain multiple copies of selected titles, an audio book where available and a resource sheet that contains discussion questions and further information about the author and the book.  By providing a convenient and comprehensive service, 'Books in a Bag' has reduced the barriers involved in starting and maintaining a book club, encouraging participants to share the experience of reading. The program also contributes to the public library structural reform outcomes of a literate and learning community and provides a highly valued and utilised community service.

Last updated on: 23 October 2019