LIAC and Drug Info Forum

The Forum provides an opportunity to share ideas and experiences, to evaluate current strategies, and plan for the year ahead

Every year, LIAC and Drug Info holds a Forum to discuss the Find Legal Answers and Drug Info services. The Forum provides an opportunity to share ideas and experiences, to evaluate current strategies, and plan for the year ahead.

This year's Forum was held on Friday 3 March, from 9.30 - 4.00 in the Gallery Room. Thirty seven participants from 27 libraries made the trip to Macquarie Street, representing 17 metro and 10 country libraries.

Woman and man and desk with ipads

Two happy Forum participants

Some quotes from participants

Very interesting and informative as usual. Good to learn about the new programs and re-branding,and good to get ideas in general and see what other libraries do.

The guest speakers were inspirational - good to know what was out there

Guest speakers always interesting.  I frequently note them as possible speakers/topics for talks for library programs.

Great day as usual - good to hear what others are doing as well


After welcoming all the participants (and having a fun session to introduce ourselves including 'spot the fake news') we summarised our achievements over the past year – 122 public library staff trained, two deserving winners of the LIAC Centre of Excellence Award, growing web statistics, and a celebration of all the fabulous Law Week, Youth Week and Know your Standards Challenge events held in public libraries.

This was followed by our first guest speaker. Alison Handmer from NSW Gambling Help talked about services available to help problem gamblers. The Gambling Help website contains a wealth of information, including videos, fact sheets, and sources of free face-to-face and online counselling services. There is also information in community languages. Alison was accompanied by what she called her 'expert gambling help panel' - a clinical psychologist, a solicitor from Wesley Mission and a client service officer from a gambling help service specialising in the CALD community. All four speakers spoke about the problems caused by gambling, and the help and services available. Many participants commented that they found this talk inspirational, and that it was good to learn about the services and resources available to assist problem gamblers.

After morning tea, our second speaker Genevieve Whitlam from Drug and Alcohol Population and Community Programs (DAPCP), NSW Health spoke about their range of different programs. These programs include the Community Engagement and Action Program which supports Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs). Over the past year CDATs have been involved in the Crystal Methamphetamine Community Education Program through the 'Breaking the Ice' community forums. The Young People Portfolio looks at ways of reducing harm from alcohol and other drug use for at-risk young people. Some of the projects that the portfolio is involved in are supporting music festival organisers to manage alcohol and other drug use and promote harm reduction strategies in the festival setting and developing resources including Aboriginal-specific resources about drug and alcohol issues which are available on the YourRoom website.  Genevieve also spoke about the work of two services funded by DAPCP, Life Education and 'Healthy Harold' and Family Drug Support. There was also a sneak peak at the updated YourRoom website which will be launched in the next few months.  

The group then divided into two - half the group accompanied Catherine to the Flinders Room for a training session on the newly updated Find Legal Answers website, while the other half stayed in the Gallery Room with Andrea for a training session on the new Drug Info website, and to learn about the new branding, Know your Drug Facts program, and Drug Info hubs.

ipad next to person's hand holding a pen and filling in questions

Doing exercises in the Find Legal Answers training

After lunch, the participants swapped sessions. We then had a discussion about what libraries are planning for Law Week and Youth Week this year. It's always a highlight of the Forum to hear the great events presented by libraries, and a great opportunity for libraries to get ideas from each other. 

The last session of the day was a run-through of all the information available on the Public Library Find Legal Answers and Drug Info pages to help libraries run the services in their communities.

Thanks to all who participated and we look forward to another great Forum next year!