Flexible approaches to learning at Zillmere Library

Zillmere Library is a small library within the Brisbane City Council library network. The library is focused on building literacy and fostering lifelong learning for future success through welcoming, flexible and responsive library services and programs. Led by a passionate team, this approach engages individuals and families across different generations and diverse communities, delivering on the Brisbane Libraries’ vision: “The Library will be Brisbane’s favourite lifelong way to connect, read, learn, work, relax… and explore new ideas.’

The following services and programs demonstrate how Zillmere Library is achieving the Realising our potential: A vision for Queensland public libraries enabler “Investing in learning and literacy: Libraries as trusted places in the community for lifelong learning and intergenerational connection”.

Early literacy
First 5 Forever chatter play is a drop-in early literacy program delivered in a relaxed play-based environment. The child-led program allows children, with their parents and carers, to explore early literacy resources together, encouraging interaction, connection and language development. Further learning opportunities are provided through a Queensland Museum subscription which brings cultural and scientific artefacts to the library for customer exploration and discovery. Library staff support the session and take cues from the group for delivery of storytime, songs, rhymes and parent messages. The result is a rich environment for play-based intergenerational learning and connection and is particularly well attended by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse families.

Chatter play session

Children explore early literacy resources with their parents and carers in chatter play sessions.

Adult literacy
On the spot digital literacy and functional literacy assistance is in high demand at Zillmere Library. Library staff sit side-by-side with customers, troubleshooting, training, exploring and learning, providing vital access and delivering meaningful learning outcomes for customers who experience multiple barriers to information participation.

Adult literacy is also supported through a weekly English Conversation Group program. The program builds language skills, confidence and community networks, and is facilitated by library staff who have undertaken English as a Second Language (ESL) group facilitation and cultural awareness training. Library staff found the need for a more informal approach to group conversation, and have successfully adapted the session to best meet participants’ needs. This includes use of the museum artefacts as starters for curious, exploratory conversations that create powerful meaning and connection, resulting in a much more interactive and engaging experience.

These personalised and flexible approaches to building adult literacy have built connection and trust, with successful interactions often leading to further engagement with the library such as bringing children or grandchildren to library early literacy programs.

English conversation group

Zillmere Library’s weekly English Conversation Groups build language skills, confidence and community networks.

Pop-up technology sessions and tinker tables
Approaching technology learning through pop-up tech sessions and technology tinker tables has been very successful at Zillmere Library. These programs encourage learning through fun exploration and experimentation, with support from library staff. The pop-up approach is important at Zillmere as it makes emerging technologies visible and available for serendipitous discovery, providing a ‘surprise and delight’ experience. Weekends have been an excellent opportunity to provide the pop-up technology sessions where families and different generations explore, play, create and problem solve together.

Technology tinker table

Technology tinker tables encourage learning through fun exploration and experimentation.