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Every year, LIAC and Drug Info hold a Forum to discuss the Find Legal Answers and Drug Info services. The Forum provides an opportunity for public library staff to share ideas and experiences, to evaluate current strategies, and plan for the year ahead.
The 2016 combined LIAC and Drug Info Forum was held on Friday 1 April. Forty three staff from 35 libraries attended, representing 23 metro and 12 country libraries.
Quotes from the participants included:
- Partnerships, outreach and community connections - this is the direction we are heading and working - the sessions provided us with more options
- The guest speakers were excellent, good to know what’s happening out there - also good to hear what other libraries are doing
- It is good to pack the LIAC and Drug Info in one full day forum
- Thanks for a good day – provided a good mix of speakers and discussion - it is important to be reminded of how useful the information is and how essential it is to display it appropriately
After welcoming all the participants (and having a fun introductory session including a round-up of our favourite drug or law related TV show or film) there was a summary of the achievements of the two services over the past year – 97 public library staff trained, 58 local court staff trained, two deserving winners of the Centre of Excellence Award, growing web statistics, and a celebration of all the fabulous Law Week and Know your Standards Week events held in public libraries.
The first guest speaker was Meredith Osborne from Legal Aid NSW. Meredith spoke about the Work and Development Order service, a system that allows eligible people to clear their fines through unpaid work, courses or treatment. It was great to hear what a difference this scheme has made to people’s lives.
After morning tea, the second speaker Karen Cox from the Financial Rights Legal Centre discussed the work of the Centre. She focused on the new letter writing tool they are developing, and issues regarding debt management firms, credit repair companies, and the increasing problems caused by payday loans.
There was then a workshop session about partnerships, outreach and community connections which focused on the different ways libraries can promote their services.
This was followed by the third guest speaker – Damian Dabrowski from the Australian Drug Foundation, who spoke about the work of the Foundation and about the Breaking the Ice community forums being held throughout the State.
After lunch, the participants did two workshop sessions – one using the Find Legal Answers website, and a Know your Drug Facts activity.
Thanks to all who participated, and we look forward to another great Forum next year!