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.
The recipients of the Awards were announced at the 2023 Library Board Awards held at the State Library on 20 July 2023.
Metropolitan and Large Regional – WINNER
City of Karratha Libraries for Memory Preservation Station
The Memory Preservation Station provides an opportunity for the community to convert old media sources to digital outputs, in turn preserving precious memories and providing access to items that might otherwise be lost. The judges were impressed with the project’s alignment with the City’s strategic plan, demonstrating a strong community collaboration and a great way to bring new users into the library. Once there, other library collections and services are promoted. The project also has outstanding elements of digital inclusion and development of digital skills. This initiative is something that could be offered in many other libraries throughout the State.
Small Regional – WINNER
Shire of Boyup Brook CRC for Public Library Re-imagined
Re-locating the library with the local Community Resource Centre (CR) has been the catalyst for the introduction of multiple new and improved services that have engaged the community across all ages. While co-located public libraries and Community Resource Centres are common in rural towns, the Judges were impressed by the level of commitment to the revitalisation of the library, its facilities, services and staffing within the Shire of Boyup Brook. Community awareness of the library has risen greatly through clever marketing. Innovation was demonstrated in new ways of delivering services in a rural setting, with Better Beginnings session being held via Zoom. The changes supported the Shire’s strategic plan. There has been strong growth in library usage demonstrated via quality data collection and community surveys. Importantly, these changes have been supported with opportunities for staff development and the appointment of trainees.
Metropolitan and Large Regional – other nominations
- City of Albany, Albany Public Library. For the establishment of the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre micro-library in response to feedback from library users regarding making library services more widely available.
- City of Busselton Library Services. For Storytime Way, a free, interactive outdoor Storytime trail for families with a magical mix of literacy and literacy-based activities.
- Curtin University Library. Received a Commendation for its Engaging with Indigenous Perspectives Through the Library’s Collections and Services project. This project focuses on Indigenising and decolonising approaches and ways of thinking to ensure better staff and student engagement, contributing to Curtin’s Reconciliation efforts. The Judges commended the library for its multiple initiatives for reconciliation of its collections, services and staff development.
Small Regional Communities– other nominations
- Shire of Nannup Public Library. For its Revamp of Nannup Public Library programs that has resulted in a 150% increase in use.
- Shire of Beverley Community Resource Centre. For improving engagement with children and families with a new library space and facilities to support early childhood literacy.
- Shire of Narrogin’s R.W. (Bob) Farr Memorial Library’s Forget Me Not Café providing social support and connection for people experiencing dementia.
Small Regional (Tier Two and Tier Three local governments)
($5,000 cash, certificate and publicity)
To be considered in this category, the public library must meet criteria for Tier Two or Three local governments under the Tiered Model to Support Public Library Service Delivery in Western Australia. Generally, local governments that serve a resident population of less than 10,000 fall into Tier Two or Three.
Metro and Large Regional (Tier One local governments)
(certificate and publicity)
To be considered in this category, the public library must meet criteria for Tier One local governments under the Tiered Model to Support Public Library Service Delivery in Western Australia. Generally, local governments that serve a resident population of more than 10,000 fall into Tier One.
Population is based on Western Australian local government populations used by the State Library to allocate funding for public library materials (before any adjustment for remote population centres). Populations of just over 10,000 may be considered in the Small regional category at the discretion of the judging panel.
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 judges will determine the category the nomination will be placed in. Further information may be requested to facilitate this decision.
The Award is for recent activity, rather than long and meritorious service. Initiatives should have been largely completed in 2022, or ongoing, so that their community impact has been assessed.
The Award is judged on the following criteria (criteria are weighted evenly):
- How is the nominated achievement innovative, original and relevant to library services in Western Australia?
- Has the nominated achievement improved the delivery of library services to clients of the library service?
- Is the nominated achievement a new library service and is it new to Western Australian library services?
- Could the nominated achievement serve as a model for other library services in Western Australia?
- Does the nominated achievement demonstrate collaboration with other government, for profit or not for profit organisations?
- What did each organisation contribute to the nominated achievement?
- What was the benefit to the library of the collaboration?
- How creative is the nominated achievement?
- Does the nominated achievement solve a problem, is it a new way of working to deliver a library service, or is it something new in Western Australian libraries?
- What was the extent and impact of the nominated achievement?
- How has it contributed to the promotion, provision or support of library services in Western Australia?
- What quantitative and qualitative evidence is available regarding the impact of the nominated achievement?
- Did the nominated achievement result in new users for the library service?
- Did the nominated achievement make the library service more accessible to library clients?
The Award is for recent activity, rather than long and meritorious service. Initiatives should have been largely completed in the previous year, or ongoing, so that their community impact has been assessed.
The recipient of each category is selected by a judging panel established by the Library Board of Western Australia. Each of the nominations will be assessed against the Selection Criteria. The panel will include two Library Board members and the CEO and State Librarian.
The recipients of the Awards will be announced at an event to be held at the State Library on 20 July 2023. Nominees will be contacted about attending the event.
Metropolitan and Large Regional – WINNER
Multiple Local Governments for LibraryCraft
LibraryCraft is a free Minecraft server for Western Australia children aged 7 to 17. Within the multiple online connected worlds of LibraryCraft users can build a home on a survival world, create anything on a creative world, enter competitions or play games with friends. The judging panel was most impressed with level of participation in the initiative from across the State. Children from 46 local governments create, learn, play and interact in LibraryCraft. This level of participation clearly demonstrates the strength of the initiative and its broad appeal. Most significantly, it brings younger users to public libraries who can be difficult to attract and engage with. LibraryCraft also fosters online and digital skills for both users and administrators; all of this within a safe online environment. LibraryCraft is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of public library staff and is a worthy recipient of the Library Board Award for Innovation and Collaboration.
Financial LibraryCraft member local governments include:
- Serpentine Jarrahdale
- South Perth
- Victoria Park
Small Regional – WINNER
Shire of Ravensthorpe – Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun CRCs – for Fitzy Unearthed and The Fitzy Files
Fitzy Unearthed and The Fitzy Files use online video and podcasting channels to capture and share community stories that offer an alternative to the somewhat negative narrative of local news services. Residents, visitors, organisations and businesses can view and listen to content and create and share their own stories while upskilling users in digital storytelling technologies and techniques. The judging panel was very impressed by the smart use of technology to create content that had wide engagement and appeal. This is an initiative that could be used by other communities to promote themselves as a tourist destination and to foster community wellbeing. The initiative was partly funded by Technology and Digital Inclusion and Encouraging Promising Practice Grants from the State Library.
Metropolitan and Large Regional – other nominations
City of Swan – Bullsbrook Public Library
Reaching and supporting LGBTQIA+ members of the community
Following on from a series of Pride workshops run in the month of November 2021, City of Swan Libraries has made a concentrated effort to better support and reach the LGBTQIA+ members of our community through workshops and activities hosted in City of Swan Libraries.
Town of Cambridge and the City of Vincent – Local History/Local Studies Centres
Galup, a multi-artform project about Lake Monger
A collaboration between the Vincent and Cambridge local history centres for their contribution towards Galup, a multi-artform project about Lake Monger. The project explores untold stories of the lake through performance, virtual reality and online history and educational resources and seeks to bring people together for truth-telling, connection and healing. Local history librarians at the City of Vincent and Town of Cambridge were involved in providing research support.
Town of Mosman Park, Town of Cottesloe, Town of Peppermint Grove – The Grove Public Library
Capturing transient community memories
A common problem for Community History libraries is how to capture transient memories. Often patrons are happy to talk for a short time and their memory may be very interesting, but it rarely warrants the commission of a full professionally delivered Oral History Interview which can be very costly for the library. The Grove Community History Library saw an opportunity to capture these memories by the establishment of Webcam Memories. With the use of a laptop, microphone, some basic free software and a mobile audio booth we found that it is possible to capture transient community memories thus filling a need for collecting organisations.
City of Cockburn – Cockburn Libraries
Programming for neurodiverse children
Multi-Sensory Storytime is a special library Storytime for children with Autism or additional sensory needs (neurodiverse children). It was devised and created by Cockburn Libraries’ YPS Coordinator and runs monthly. Multi-Sensory Storytime is an intensive session designed to be accessible to all and has attendees with a range of needs that makes the regular Storytime sessions difficult or stressful. Specifically, children who may find the size, noise, and sensory overload of regular sessions a barrier to attending the library.
City of Gosnells – Thornlie Public Library
Learning Noongar through Storytime
A new program at the Thornlie Library called Learning Noongar through Storytime. Staff running Learning English through Story Time could see the potential for this model to be used with families to learn about Noongar language and culture. There were language courses for adults within the community and offered by libraries, and that there was special Noongar language story times run for younger children. But the point of difference with this program was that it could involve the whole family to learn about Noongar language and culture together.
City of Canning
Hillview Intercultural Community Centre
The Hillview Intercultural Community Centre is the first community facility of its type in Perth’s southern metro region. The intent is for the Centre and the surrounding park lands to be a hub for community activities and programs that showcase the City’s diverse community (Western Australia’s most culturally diverse Local Government Authority) and to provide opportunities for residents to access a range of programs, resources and activities, including for example business mentoring, digital literacy initiatives, and cultural events/workshops.
City of Kalgoorlie Boulder – William Grundt Memorial Library
Grow Free sharing cart
The William Grundt Memorial Library in collaboration with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Healthy Communities team were a part of the Grow Free Cart. A Grow Free sharing cart is a medium where members of the community can provide fresh produce for free to others. Members of the community can donate, take or swap fresh produce that they have grown on this cart. This initiative promotes a sustainable culture of growing and sharing healthy food and other resources with members of the community. people give what they can and take what they need.
Town of Victoria Park – Victoria Park Public Library
Support to the Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women
In mid-2021, the Victoria Park Public Library began hosting monthly excursions with residents from the Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women. Over the course of a month, approximately 36 Boronia residents came into the library for a small group session. During each session they were trained how to access the collection using OPAC or by browsing the fiction and nonfiction areas by author or subject. They also became familiar with using RFID self-check kiosk and return chutes. The sessions also provided the residents to work on accountability and organisational management. This program became so popular with participants, especially the avid readers, that the library organised to facilitate a monthly book club at the Boronia facility. Since its inception, women who were not readers are now doing so regularly. In between library visits the women are meeting to swap books and discuss themes on their own time.
City of Mandurah Libraries
The Twelve Days of Christmas: Online Storytimes
In December 2021, the City of Mandurah Libraries delivered an online Christmas Storytime with the aims of celebrating the joy of reading, providing opportunities to share the written word to a broader audience than current library members, and to re-engage the community with public libraries during COVID-19.
Small Regional – other nominations
Shire of Chittering – Bindoon Public Library
Theme months to engage and support the community
Shire of Chittering has worked hard to build the community base surrounding the Bindoon Public Library and to develop it into a thriving community hub. With regular activities and events surrounding Theme Months, there is always something happening to engage and support the community. July has been designated Safer Communities Month and during this time we promoted and educated the community regarding various ways that they can prevent disasters, keep their families safe, develop healthy coping mechanisms and become more resilient, and also offered resources advising where they could seek help and support.
Shire of Irwin – Dongara Public Library
Inspiring a Connected Irwin Project
The Inspiring a Connected Irwin Project, supported through grants from the State Library has supported the Shire of Irwin's vision to deliver on the provision and improvement of access to the Dongara Public Library, now with the capabilities of providing digital inclusion, social inclusion and well-being opportunities and caters for families, seniors and youth currently without or limited access to these resources. The Library now features an accessible and all-inclusive public space providing the community, with furniture and access and support to a wide range of technologies and eresources to enhance reading and retention as well as digital literacy skills.
Shire of Wyndham – East Kimberley – Kununurra School and Community Library
Baby Grand Piano
Kununurra School and Community Library rescued the community's Baby Grand piano after many years of it sitting backstage at the town's Leisure Centre. Initially it was thought it would be used for formal occasions, such as, the Opening Cocktail Party of the Kimberley Writers Festival each year. It has grown to being used by many members of the community individually, as well as many organisations for the benefit of their members and the enjoyment of visitors to the Library.
On 20 May 2021, the Library Board Award for Innovation and Collaboration was announced at the Library Board Awards Night. City of Fremantle took out the Award for their partnership with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre to embed a Community Support Worker into the Library to provide direct engagement with people in the community experiencing disadvantage. This program is the first of its kind in Western Australian public libraries and will benefit all members of the Fremantle community.
City of Fremantle, Fremantle Public Library’s Library Connect-Freo Program
In a partnership with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Fremantle Public Library has embedded a Community Support Worker into the Library to provide direct engagement with people experiencing disadvantage or vulnerability and to support Library staff when working with vulnerable library users. Support is being provided to fill gaps in experience, training and approaches to increase skills and comfort levels of Library and City of Fremantle staff when working with vulnerable people. The initiative benefits the community, staff and most importantly, some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Other 2021 Nominees (in no particular order)
City of Albany’s Albany Public Library for their Home Delivery Service During COVID-19
During the COVID lockdown the Albany Public Library collaborated with local businesses on a Home Delivery Service for isolated and vulnerable people in the community. Extensive community networks were used to identify those in the community that would benefit and services were delivered safely within COVID-19 restrictions.
City of Mandurah’s Lakelands Library and Community Centre Story Walk Project
Lakelands Library and Community Centre partnered with the Lakelands Shopping Centre to display enlarged pages of local author Kylie Howarth’s children’s book 1, 2, Pirate Stew. The Story Walk was designed to engage the community in a meaningful and safe way through an interactive challenge to find and read each page of the story that were displayed by retailers throughout the Centre.
The last page of the story was displayed in Lakelands Library, encouraging visitors to end their Story Walk inside the library. A high level of engagement with retailers and centre management was achieved and the promotion of a local author was especially noteworthy.
Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s Mundijong Public Library for their Response Through Recovery
Continued engagement with the community of Serpentine Jarrahdale during the COVID lockdown was achieved via a variety of programs and online engagement including a Call and Collect service for community members who could travel to the library. Collaborating with the Shire’s Youth Engagement Team, who had been displaced from their positions, a Books on Wheels service made deliveries using COVID safe practices to the most vulnerable people in the community and ensured the Youth Team retained employment. Digital content and programming was also delivered by staff working from home with many of the Library’s regular programs shifting to online delivery.
City of Canning’s Canning Libraries Work Ready Project
Work Ready was established as part of Canning’s COVID recovery project, Connect in Canning, with an aim to build the capacity of jobseekers by providing them with increased opportunity and access to support, information, skill development and employment services, centred in the City’s libraries. Work Ready includes a number of popular and successful initiatives, including an online work ready hub, volunteering opportunities, workshops and programming, digital support, not-for-profit partnerships, youth and targeted employment opportunities.
Canning Libraries are working collaboratively to facilitate access for all community members to a range of learning, business and employment initiatives, fostering harmony through inclusion, connection and celebration of diversity.
City of Rockingham Libraries Connect and Create Program
The program is designed to offer community development outcomes in the form of social connection, wellbeing and access and inclusion opportunities at the same time as enjoying a range of fun, creative, mindful and sustainable activities across four library branches, and pop-up libraries at events, fairs and fetes across the City of Rockingham. There is a high level of engagement between local artists, groups, library staff and members of the community.
City of South Perth on behalf of Various Local Governments for LibraryCraft
LibraryCraft is a West Australian Libraries operated Minecraft server for players aged 7 to 17 years old. The program is operated by a group of 30 Western Australian local governments taking the connectedness that libraries embody and foster into the online world in a safe way. LibraryCraft reaches a demographic that is often harder to engage with and aren’t seen to be frequently coming to library programs.
It also helps to reach rural patrons and those experiencing isolation across the State. Being a library program there is a promotion and focus on lifelong learning through STEM competitions, digital and social literacy and skill development with problem solving, technology and online safety.
City of Cockburn’s Cockburn Libraries Programs and communication strategies during the COVID-19
Cockburn programs and communication strategies during the COVID lockdown ensured the library service maintained strong positive contact with the community. They created innovative online programs, provided welfare checks, produced instructional videos to assist clients to access e-resources, introduced a Mystery Bag pick-up service which morphed into a click and collect service and posted resource information for families and seniors.
The programs were designed for both children and adults to spark engagement, creativity and to address feelings of isolation within the community.
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.
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.
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.