Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Home Library Services ... the Weakest Link?

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Home Library Services ... the Weakest Link?

Article excerpt

At the end of last year the Australian Library and Information Association endorsed the Guidelines for Australian home library services developed by its Home Library Services Group. The introduction to the Guidelines states

   The Australian Library and Information Association (Alia) supports social
   inclusion and asserts that all Australians should therefore have access to
   the resources and services of a public library, regardless of their
   circumstances. Home Library Services (HLS) users have the same rights as
   other library users and should receive an equal standard of service. The
   HLS should be a mainstream, integral, part of a public library, with
   priority equal to other services of the library.

The need for such an iteration is real. In some public library services the home delivery service is characterised by

* low local authority, library management, and funding priority

* a token program too dependent on volunteers

* limited marketing for fear of demand which may be incapable of being met

* a service limited to the supply of print and other conventional resources

That last characteristic requires explanation. The Guidelines are possibly the first in the world to assert that what most public library users now have access to--technology and the internet--must now be a consideration in a home library service. Thus the Guidelines state that

   4.3.5 Advice on, facilitation of, and training in internet access for the
   HLS user should be provided

And so it should be--because if the public library does not do so, no other agency in society is likely to. …

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