Standard drinks challenge 2016

Know Your Standards is an alcohol awareness program delivered in NSW public libraries. The public library program includes events and activities to promote awareness of standard drinks and the Australian Alcohol Guidelines. Each year, as part of the program, a promotional campaign is developed for public libraries. During June, Drug Info challenged public libraries to achieve a total of 50 activities promoting standards drinks and alcohol awareness to their communities.

Uralla library display

Know Your Standards display at Uralla Library

Libraries were encouraged to use their resin pouring and display kits and other elements of the Know Your Standards program in inventive ways to promote alcohol awareness in their library and community. Drug Info developed an activities guide to inform and inspire library staff. Suggested activities included displays, events, standard drink demonstrations, media – print, online and social media, training/talks, reference services, promotional material distribution and gaming. However library staff were not restricted to set options.  

Events, activities and displays were held in libraries across New South Wales with a total of 57 activities reported. 


Many libraries chose to take on the challenge with a display. Simply by placing the resin kit and other material on display in a prominent place in the library is a great way of drawing attention to these resources. Libraries utilised their glass display cases to create attractive displays and a number of libraries repurposed the show bags that they received for Youth Week to create take-home information packs about alcohol awareness.

Across the state there were resin kit, poster and book displays by Parramatta City Library Service, Albury LibraryMuseum, Burwood Library, Strathfield Library, Hawkesbury Library Service, Five Dock Library, Lithgow Library Learning Centre and Bexley North Library. A number of these displays were accompanied by promotional giveaways. 

There were several library services who organised displays in all of their branches. Upper Hunter Library Network distributed material among their five branches and the Scone Neighbourhood Centre for display. The Know Your Standards pocket guides were particularly popular in this location. City of Sydney Library organised a book display at their King Cross library branch and distributed resources across the rest of their branches. Wentworth Shire Library also organised displays in all three of their branches and ran the Standard Drinks Quiz.

Some libraries were quite creative with their displays, with Singleton Library featuring Barbie and Ken in a drink driving display and Deniliquin Library using oak wine barrels, empty beer and wine cartons to create a colourful and eye-catching display. 

Tenterfield Library combined their alcohol awareness display with their Men’s Health display to great effect. Manly Library combined a poster and book display in the library with promotional giveaways and provided clients with a chance to take on a pouring challenge using their resin kit.

Hurstville Library located their Know Your Standards cabinet display that included the resin kit and factsheets adjacent to the quiet study area. This area has a large number of young people passing by and its location ensured we captured high traffic. Library staff reported that “the location was very ideal and as the quiet study area was very popular with students at this time of year (HSC trials) we were able to successfully market towards a certain group.”

We found a number of libraries combining displays and giveaways with social media and website promotion:

Ingleburn Library displayed books, posters and their resin kit which they photographed and uploaded to Facebook. They also handed out promotional material within the library. Library staff found it to be a “great promotion particularly the cards showing limits that people can keep in their wallets. Was also interesting to see people's reaction to how much is actually considered to be a 'glass' of alcohol.

Sutherland Shire Libraries arranged displays in their Menai, Sutherland and Cronulla libraries with the kit on display this year in Cronulla. These displays were backed up with a social media and blog campaign and “free information packs”, using repurposed show bags from Youth Week.


Bingara Library ran the Standard Drinks Quiz in their library with participants receiving a Drug Info pen. Kiama Library combined a library display with running a Standard Drinks Quiz with a “vintage” Drug Info USB as a giveaway, advertised on their social media channels.

Reference work

Throughout the past year we’ve noticed an increasing number of libraries that have been using their resin kits in reference work. Simply by placing the kit on or near the reference counter allows interaction with clients. 

During the challenge Narellan Library displayed their kit near their reference desk and found that lots of questions were asked of reference services. They reported that staff “love the resin standards drinks kit, it is so eye catching and pulls people in” and “we had a lot of people asking about the display, taking the standard drinks cards and the pens”. 

Similarly Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre displayed the kit on their reference counter “because it’s so popular”. They also give out promotional material such as the pocket guides, pamphlets and pens to clients who come and ask questions about the kit. This year they also rotated the display throughout their branches.


City of Canada Bay Libraries ran three 'Know your standards' sessions in their weekly drop-in spaces for high school students at both Concord and Five Dock Libraries. Students were encouraged to try the drunk vision goggles and experience how different levels of alcohol can affect their vision. They were seen trying to carry out every day activities like playing the Wii U, iPad apps (colour swap) and Connect Four as well as simply walking straight lines and high-fiving each other. Seventy five show bags including a range of material on alcohol standards and drug related information were distributed to these excited High school students. According to library staff “the Youth Drop-in Spaces are ideal opportunities for the libraries to start a conversation around health issues involving drugs and alcohol with youth and promote the information we hold.” 

Muswellbrook Library invited the teens in for games and pizza and placed the bags and information around the youth section. Staff reported that clients picked them up and started discussing the drinks they consume and “were a little taken aback that it doesn't take that much alcohol to be over the limit”.

Pennant Hills Library incorporated the pouring activity into a book club meeting. Library staff reported that the book club members enjoyed the activity and hope to repeat the activity in the future. 

The resin kit is not just useful for external library clients, but can also be used for internal clients, such as council staff. At Queanbeyan City Library, library staff demonstrated the standard drinks resin kit at the Council's WHS Committee meeting where there were staff from a number of Council. This was a most successful venture as participants provided suggestions for using the kit such as at the next staff BBQ for outdoor staff, at the youth centre and at some of the activities during Senior’s week and at other Council events.

Carrathool Shire Library and Uralla Library each borrowed a set of “beer goggles” for use in public events. Clients at Uralla Library were challenged to complete a small obstacle course while wearing the goggles to experience how their vision and movement was impaired by alcohol. The library was featured in the local paper for this activity and staff reported that it was a “great opportunity for community engagement and feedback”. 

Two libraries partnered with their local Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs) during June. Port Macquarie-Hastings Library participated in the Family Fun Day at Town Beach Park in Port Macquarie. The annual event is organised by Hastings CDAT and is supported by the Hastings Council, NSW Police and the Mid North Coast Local Health District. This fun event gave families the opportunity to access information and education about specific drugs and alcohol, have a health check, find out about local services, and speak to health professionals. Library staff organised a display in the libraries, at the local shopping mall and ran a library bag decorating stall at the Family Fun Day where 310 bags were decorated. 

Kempsey Library teamed up with the Macleay Community Drug Action Team (MCDAT) to present a large display of information and giveaways within the library. MCDAT provided a range of brochures on different drugs, plus a banner, tablecloth, key tags, pens and calico bags. MCDAT also conducted a survey of the public about drug use and abuse, and asking for solutions, and gave away free t-shirts. The library provided their resin standard drinks display kit, and the Know Your Standards promotional material. They also displayed some of their lending collection (on drug and alcohol related topics) at their front counter, and several of these were borrowed. Council's Environment and Waste office loaned a sharps disposal container and some pamphlets on needle disposal. The display garnered a lot of interest from the community and feedback from staff was that it was “fantastic to team up with another community organisation.”

Social Media

Drug Info supported public libraries with a Know Your Standards social media campaign, using Twitter and Facebook. Drug Info scheduled a program of tweets and posts promoting library displays and activities. Libraries were also encouraged to use the hashtags #knowyourstandards and #nswpubliclibraries so we could follow the conversations. The campaign proved successful once again, with a significant increase in our Facebook and Twitter audience reach and followers during the period.

Photos from the challenge are available on the Drug Info Facebook account.