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Collaborate to share information on the Strategy

Indigenous Spaces In Library Places Public Library Toolkit

Inspire collaborative relationships among the public library network to share information on Indigenous services


  • Staff across the public library network share information and experiences on how to develop better services for Indigenous peoples 
  • Create a network of professionals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to develop good practice for Indigenous services in public libraries.  

Key strategies

  • Facilitate connections and conversations across the public library network, through the use of the State Library website, online collaborative tools and social media channels. 
  • Promote champions in improving and providing services for the local Australian Indigenous population, and celebrate these inspiring stories among the public library network. 
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Aboriginal photographer Mervyn Bishop with Kirsten Thorpe and Louise Denoon

Resources for public libraries

Resources for public libraries

Getting started

Is your library interested conducting programs with the local Indigenouscommunity – but you don’t know where to start?
Does your library organise innovative programs with community and you want to share these successes with other libraries?

Professional collaboration is the way to go – the following are a few tips that may help. 

Working together

Many institutions contribute across the whole range of social media forums such as:


Collect followers and follow others to be exposed to an enormous number of people and organisations who have similar interests. Retweeting is simple and this creates a “news ticker” feel to your outreach. Here are a few hashtags that might help: 


Pin individual photographs of events, books and services to create a connection with the outside world to your library. Some boards that may be of interest are: 


This is more of a conversational forum where you can post multiple photos and a short paragraph describing your event or program. Many institutions, professional organisations and individuals have a Facebook page and they include: 



This is a forum that reaches the younger audience, this easy to use blogging tool encourages sharing and re-blogging of other people’s content.  You could start by visiting Indigenous Services Tumblr

Tips: have you thought of:

  • ask other libraries to take a "shelfie" of their labelled Aboriginal collection? using #PublicLibrariesIndigenous and #Shelfie (using Twitter and Instagram)
  • Pin a board of Indigenous YA fiction, Fiction or Non-Fiction and share it with the Indigenous Spaces in Library Places board (using Pinterest)
  • Host a public libraries NSW online trivia quiz with questions such as: "How much do you know of NSW Indigenous history?" or "How much do you know of Indigenous peoples in your collections?" (using Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr)


Getting started

Email lists are designed to work as a learning community encouraging library staff to share information and experiences. The e-list that SLNSW administers is found at indigenous-services@libraries.nsw.gov.au and is for public library staff who are interested in ideas for the provision of services for Indigenous people in their libraries and communities. 

Getting started

You may want to consider contacting Indigenous media outlets or local publishers to share stories or showcase your programs. The State Library's print and online media channels also provide opportunities for you to share information on your programs.  

Some examples of Indigenous media outlets are:  

The Library publishes the Public Library News bi-annually in both print and PDF format.  The magazine features case studies and in-depth articles on innovation and new ideas in libraries.  


Getting started

All kinds of subject specific training could help with ideas for sharing information between professionals. The obvious would be Cultural Competency, but how to research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages training are just as effective. 

Getting started

Collaboration with like-minded professionals can also be achieved by joining a professional organisation. Some examples of assocations that you might be interested in connecting with are: 


Case Studies


The State Library of NSW holds over 200 language lists of Indigenous Australian languages in its collections. The language lists were collected by early nineteenth century Europeans who were in conversation with Indigenous people. These language lists have been digitised but they are often really hard to read.  

For NAIDOC Week we held a transcribe-a-thon with staff in public libraries across New South Wales, from Wiradjuri country to Dharug. Together we transcribed a series of handwritten language lists into typed transcripts so they can be easily read and searched for words. 

The public libraries joined us and other staff from the State Library via video conference at 11am on Wednesday 5 July and we began transcribing. We had lots of fun deciphering the handwriting of nineteenth century surveyors and even had to decode some words for body parts! Our transcripts are now available online and can be viewed by people from across the globe.  

Transcribing is part of the Library’s crowdsourcing initiatives, and an easy and fun way of engaging public with our collections. 


Choose your strategy objective

Katoomba Library Aboriginal Knowledge Centre


Welcome Indigenous peoples into your library

Indigenous spaces- Support Indigenous people in the local area


Support communities in your local area

Indigenous spaces- share stories about Indigenous culture


Share stories and build knowledge

Include and support indigenous employment across the library network


Include and support Indigenous employment

Build vibrant collections shaped by Indigenous needs


Build vibrant collections and services

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Collaborate to share information on the Strategy

Spread the Indigenous spaces strategy across the state


Reach and spread the Indigenous spaces strategy across NSW

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Indigenous spaces

Indigenous spaces in library places

Other resources for your library

Dyarubbin exhibition in the First Nations Gallery, March 2022

Indigenous Spaces in Libraries

Building culturally safe and welcoming spaces in libraries for First Nations peoples and communities.

Banners across the front of the Macquarie St wing of the Library for the Eight Days in Kamay exhibition 2021

Guiding Principles and Indigenous Frameworks

Guidelines the Library follows for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and managing the collections