Why is this important?
Local councils operate library services throughout the state, using a variety of infrastructure and providing a range of information resources. Many facilities also act as important community hubs that enable access to a range of services, such as computer and internet services, children and family story times, homegroup clubs, holiday programs, book clubs and exhibitions.
Libraries have a significant contribution to make around community understanding of the lives and aspirations of Aborginal Victorians and their interaction with white Australians, from European settlement to the present day.
As one of the most accessible, universal and highly used council services, libraries are well placed to convey positive images of Aboriginal society and to reflect the living culture of the local Aboriginal community.
Libraries can also play a significant role in reaching out to the local Aboriginal community to offer inclusive and supportive learning environments. As such libraries can contribute to close the gap targets for Aboriginal students in early years right through to further education settings.
What can your council do?
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 75 per cent of councils have Aboriginal specific programs in their libraries.
Councils can encourage and support libraries to strengthen access to services by Aboriginal people and to build awareness and respect of Aboriginal people and communities through:
– Aboriginal story-telling times/sessions
– Specific Aboriginal children’s collections
– Information about local Aboriginal history and heritage
– Aboriginal exhibitions
– Aboriginal homework groups
– Active promotion of local activities, including Reconciliation week and NAIDOC week
– Employing Aboriginal staff.