Welcoming diversity in your library

While many Indian and Vietnamese community members are already frequent users of their local library, many are not aware of the full range of services on offer – this was discovered in recent research by two QUT Master of Social Work students at State Library (SLQ).

Children's area at Logan

Children’s area at Logan Central Library

Working with SLQ in partnership with Logan Libraries in November last year, the students developed community engagement ideas for promoting Logan Libraries venues, collections, programs and services amongst the Indian and Vietnamese communities. They surveyed community members to identify their awareness and use of the libraries, as well as any barriers to access the library.

One survey respondent said she and her family had been using the libraries for many years for a variety of purposes; however she was completely unaware of the LOTE collections! While many others expressed their satisfaction with the welcoming and inclusive environment that libraries provide.

 

The students’ presentations and reports provide a range of recommendations and suggestions for all libraries to more fully engage with an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) society. Ideas include:

  • Embracing CALD community champions to advocate the services of libraries;
  • Introduce or further develop English Conversation Circles;
  • Develop culturally diverse displays both inside and outside of the library;
  • Encourage CALD volunteers;
  • Provide visible labelling of all library materials.
Signage at Logan Central Library

Signage at Logan Central Library

You can read the students’ full reports and presentations, along with a host of other advocacy ideas, on the Public Libraries Connect Championing your library page – and have a think about how they could be adapted to suit your own community.

Please share your own ideas and stories of success in engaging with your own diverse communities below.