Research into multicultural services in NSW public libraries

The State Library of NSW has commissioned a project to explore to what extent public libraries in New South Wales are evolving to meet the changes in local demographics, service expectations, community needs and access to technology for non-English speaking members of the community.

The research project was endorsed by the Strategic Network Committee at the 6 April 2016 meeting.  The State Library has commissioned DiverseWerks, part of the Cultural Perspectives Group, to conduct the research which includes the following outcomes:

  • To compare the library services offered to multicultural communities in NSW against the following service benchmarks: planning for relevant library services, organisational capacity to develop and deliver services/collections, quality of service/collections, promotions and delivery, and evaluation.
  • To recommend any updates to the benchmarks that may be required.
  • To develop strategies and tactics to assist libraries to meet the benchmarks and future library scenarios, including considering contemporary issues in the industry (eg. shift in emphasis from a collection focus to community engagement and programming, collaborative projects and partnerships, increase in digital/online information sources) and directly affecting the multicultural community (e.g. ageing in the multicultural community and the demand for digital literacy skills and technology training).

The current research will provide an update on earlier research commissioned by the State Library.    In 2000, a comprehensive survey of multicultural service delivery in NSW public libraries was conducted, and provided examples of local, national and international service delivery that libraries could use as models to improve their own services.  In 2003, further research was undertaken to review multicultural library services, identify users' needs and map opportunities for wider engagement of non-English speaking background audiences.  The publication Culturally diverse communities  and the public library: a review of NSW public library multicultural services resulted from this and included benchmarks categorised against a five-point scale.  

For further information please contact Oriana Acevedo, oriana.acevedo@sl.nsw.gov.au, 9273 1544