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Current research projects

Information and reports on research projects that are currently in progress.

Readers Advisory Services in NSW public libraries

Rewarding reading training has been taking place in NSW public libraries for ten years.  It was started as a result of a South East Zone cooperative Library Development Grant, with later training paid for by the State Library of NSW.  This training has taken place in each zone and region of NSW.

The State Library conducted a survey to determine the current state of readers' advisory services in NSW public libraries.  The survey was based on one developed by Library Journal with NoveList and the RUSA/CODES Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee. 

  • To explore the current role of libraries in providing readers’ advisory services
  • To identify the range of readers’ advisory services across the state
  • To identify current service models for readers’ advisory services in libraries
  • Develop good practice guidelines for readers’ advisory services in libraries
FileAn overview of the results is now available

 (Word 814 Kb)

If you have any questions about this project please contact Ellen Forsyth

NSW Public libraries local studies audit

The State Library’s Public Library Services and Library Services Divisions are currently working with NSW public libraries on a project to develop a shared local history strategy.

This project is being undertaken in three stages:

An audit of local history collections (digital, published and original) in or managed by NSW public libraries, together with an understanding of the management and services around these collections. 

Development of best practice guidelines for collection development, managing collections including reformatting, providing access and service delivery.

State Library of NSW and the NSW public Library network collaborate to develop a statewide strategy for local history collections, which would include pathways for referral from public libraries to State Library collections and vice versa.

This audit was completed in late 2013 and early 2014 by 116 of the 152 councils in NSW. Data from this audit is now available.

FileNSW public libraries local studies audit data

 (Word 727KB)

The next stage in the research is for members of the Working Party for this project, and members of the Public Library Network Research Committee to participate in a focus group about the priorities for best practice guidelines for collection development, managing collections including reformatting, providing access and service delivery which emerge from this research.  This meeting will take place in the second half of this year.

There will be opportunities for others to be involved as these guidelines are developed.

People are invited to email their comments about the results of this research to Ellen Forsyth.

Early literacy project

The State Library of New South Wales has established a research partnership with the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University with the key aim of supporting public libraries in NSW to be recognised for the early literacy services offered.  

The project includes:

  • a survey of all NSW public libraries about the types and structure of early literacy programs they offer (from birth to 5 years)
  • a comprehensive review of research on early literacy development and practices in diverse homes and communities and associated later literacy outcomes
  • close observation and analysis of early literacy programs at 24 NSW public libraries representing the variety of programs and library settings across the state

The findings will be used to build a context-sensitive framework that includes: 

  • a set of core literacy competencies that all young children should be given opportunities to develop prior to school, which NSW public libraries can use to benchmark their early literacy programs 
  • professional development materials for library staff involved in the design of early literacy programs
  • guidelines for developing effective early literacy programs across different public library settings in NSW that identify the key elements of such programs, supported by examples of programs designed following these guidelines.