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Behind The Shelves – PLWA


Last month I explained a little about the Alphabet Brigade behind public libraries and today I’m going to delve a little deeper into PLWA – Public Libraries Western Australia.

PLWA is an organisation that provides advocacy for public libraries and works with the State Government, SLWA (State Library of WA), WALGA (The WA Local Government Association), PLA (Public Libraries Australia), and ALIA (the Australian Library and Information Association). They offer insights and advice on how policies or changes to procedures will affect public libraries but they also do some very heavy lifting. For example, they have recently been working hard to create a new state-wide Public Library Strategy in consultation with SLWA.

Their Executive Committee is made up of representatives from public libraries across the state and I joined the team at the end of last year. I get to be a voice for smaller libraries; to advocate for the rural and regional libraries that don’t always get to be heard. It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously and led me to join the Regional and Remote Libraries Working Group.

The RRLWG meet bi-monthly and discuss any issues or concerns that need to be raised with PLWA. There are two of us from Exec on this working group and we report back as needed. Recently we’ve been discussing our concerns over the rising incidents of aggressive behaviour directed towards public library staff and are trying to come up with ways to address these. We also share ideas about library events that work well in regional areas and how to deliver these, often on a very small or non-existent budget.

I’m also on the Online Events Working Group. Each year we organise and host up to 6 free online author events. Anyone can get a ticket and participate from the comfort of their own home, and some libraries hold in-person events where you can watch the talk as a group. Given how much it can cost libraries to host in-person author talks, this especially helps out the smaller libraries as there is no charge to libraries for the events.
They’re also great events for those people who either live too far from a library to attend regular in person or are unable to leave the house. Those busy parents, those who don’t have a driver’s licence, or people who are housebound due to their health can still jump online and take part all from the comfort of their own homes.

Be sure to follow the Facebook page for all the latest updates regarding the Online Events – https://www.facebook.com/PLWAOE. We’ll be busy working behind the scenes to bring you some fantastic author events and we look forward to sharing them with you soon!