Gold Coast Study Visit 2015

ETL507 Study Visits – Gold Coast 2015


The Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Museum

The Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Gold Coast and is run entirely by volunteers.  Its precinct consists of a number of heritage buildings, and all of the items on display at the museum have been donations, mostly from the families of the local pioneers.  Each of the five historical buildings contains items from a different era of the past.

I was amazed to hear that up until four years ago, there was no catalogue system.  June, the volunteer who now heads up the cataloguing team,  recalls that the rooms in the buildings were filled with old trunks and boxes that were overflowing with treasures.  Following a monetary donation from a local businessman to buy a laptop and cataloguing software, they now use the MOSAIC Collections Management System.  It is a time consuming and lengthy process.  Each item or photograph is allocated an item number to be written on the back of it, it then has the appropriate worksheets completed (see attached copy) and these are then passed onto a volunteer who enters them into the computer.  The items are first catalogued under a main topic heading such as “documents, cameras, plans, maps, dinner sets” etc. and then have a sub heading such as “books, photo albums” etc.  June told me they still have a decade of history items to enter.

In addition to this cataloguing system, two years ago the president of the historical and a team of volunteers fitted out one of the cottages with display shelves.  The rooms in one of the cottages is now dedicated entirely to these glass fronted locked display cabinets.  Each display cabinet is beautifully set out, with displays ranging from Aboriginal artefacts, photographs, farm machinery, and even the original iconic Gold Coast Meter Maids costumes. The money for the materials for this display was donated by Jupiter’s Casino; however the actual building work was carried out by the president and vice president of the museum.

As a history lover I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, not only from an educational point of view but was also very impressed by the tireless commitment of the volunteers at the Gold Coast museum.  From the president down to the team of locals who keep the gardens filled with plants that represent their pre and post European history, their dedication is definitely the strength that keeps the museum going.  Some volunteers work at the museum five to six days per week, particularly the team who have dedicated their time to the task of ongoing cataloguing.

The only weakness, if it could be called that is that the museum completely self-funded, receiving no government funding and relies entirely on donations, bequeaths and the small entry fee it charges which is $5 for adults and no charge for children.   I feel it needs to be promoted more in order raise public awareness of what a hidden gem the Hinterland Historical Museum is to the Gold Coast.





John & Alison Kearney Law Library – Bond University

The John and Alison Kearney Law Library is located adjacent to the main library at Bond University.  It is housed in a separate block and has two levels dedicated solely to providing an extensive range of resources, in both print and online materials for the learning, teaching and research needs for the Faculty of Law.  I was shown around by Amy Leong, one of the library staff who has worked at the law library for several years. She explained that whilst  the main library at the university uses the Library of Congress system, the law library uses the MOYS Classification system.  The library is dedicated solely to law subjects and is open seven days a week.   Local solicitors and barristers practicing law on the Gold Coast are free to visit at any time and use the library’s extensive resources.   This law library houses a comprehensive collection of all Law Classification texts. An interesting in house system has also been developed. Every law book classification begins with the letter “K”.  Every resource has a sticker with the letter “K” on its spine that ensures that any books that mistakenly end up at the main library are spotted immediately as belonging to the law library.  A diagram of this system is shown on the attached “Student Guide”.  Every new law student is given one of these guides when they join the library, to assist them to easily locate the resources they need.

Near the circulation desk is a section of bookshelves dedicated to “reserved” books, which are the texts selected during the semester break for the following semester.  This ensures that when students resume their studies in the first week they do not need to spend time locating their books. The law library consists of a mixture of print and e-books, however all prescribed texts are print only.  Information resources include an extensive range of law books, and all acts of parliament including federal and commonwealth government. The budget for the law library is allocated by the law faulty.  The manager and head librarian collaborate to decide which publishers to source their stock from.  The library is strictly a non-profit organisation and all proceeds are given back to resources for the students.  The law library manager and head librarian also collaborate on the duties of weeding and deselection.  This is an ongoing process throughout the year, with an ongoing reporting system which shows them levels of collection usage.

The students have a wonderful choice of study venues within the library.  The second level of the library includes open desk planning for study groups, and lockers for students to store their books for research purposes.  Wi-Fi is available throughout the entire library as well as printing and photocopy. The third level is more formal and the portraits of judges from the 1800s to recent times add to the stately atmosphere.  There are cubicles set up for silent study and a designated study room with computers. The libraries online systems contains  a number of law databases such as CCH IntelliConnect, Hein Online, ICLR Online, Informit, Lawlex, LexisNexis AU, Westlaw AU, Westlaw International.

This was the first time I have visited an actual law library, and I must say I was impressed.  It was set out in a manner that is academic but welcoming at the same time.  The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable and it is apparent that every effort is made to ensure the students are assisted in every way possible.  All in all it was a very educational experience.


Tweed Shire Council Library

The Tweed Shire Council library is a wonderful example of motivated library personnel making the most of the limited resources available.  The library is housed in a building which is quite old and tired looking and there is limited space, however the resourceful staff have not let this impede them in any way.  They have created a social hub and community centre that serves the population of the Tweed Heads region. This includes a large demographic of aging and retired people.  Amanda, the head librarian who showed me around the library told me that their patrons are to a large percentage older retired people, and this is evident in the large number of books in their collection that are in larger print.  Amidst the selection of large print and audio books I noticed a large stand of music cds, mostly music from the 50 and 60s, which Amanda assures me is very popular.  Another stand nearby displayed a variety of brochures concerning pensions, veteran affairs, health information and Centrelink contacts.

Negotiations are under way to purchase the building that adjoins the library which is owned by the Southern Cross University and the staff are all very excited about the prospect of having the additional space.  The library uses SPYDUS for its library management system.  There is a major weeding and de-selectin process about to start before they begin moving the collection to this building.  They are also currently in the process of implementing a standing orders system.   I was interested to see that their non-fiction collection was categorised by genre, rather than using the Dewey system.  Amanda explained that once again this was more user friendly for their clientele.

They also provide Wi-Fi and photocopying for their patrons along with offering to scan documents and email them. I was surprised to hear that many of their elderly patrons have embraced e-books.  Amanda said they have had an influx of people coming into the library with a device that they have received as a gift from a younger well-meaning relative and have absolutely no idea how to use it.  A consequence of this is that it has become a time consuming task for library staff trying to assist them.  The library ran a trial information session in using e-book devices and computers earlier this year and they were absolutely overrun with participants.  This is an area they are looking at expanding once they have more room. They already hold monthly talks on Wills and Power of Attorneys.  Weekly craft lessons encourage socialising a home delivery service is available for house bound patrons, all run by volunteers.

Whilst the aging population is a large portion of this library’s cliental, the younger generation is not forgotten and the collection houses a good selection of up to date reading matter.  A delightful children’s literature corner has also been set up with colourful painted walls and children’s furniture and run a story book morning each week.

I was very impressed with the warmth and attitude of the staff at this library, high emphasis on customer service, they all go out of their way to assist the community in every way they can. The Tweed Shire library is a wonderful example of how a library can not only meet communities reading needs but becomes a community centre as well.



All Saints Anglican School Library


All Saints Anglican School is very blessed to have a School Principal who not only values libraries, but also Teacher Librarians.  So much so, that the school has four teacher librarians on staff and is in the process of constructing a new multistorey library for the senior and middle school, due for completion in July 2015.  I was shown around the school libraries by Alan Trueman, the Director of Information Resources. The middle and senior school library is currently being run out of what was previously the Year 12 common room.  Nevertheless the school is still making the best of the space in this room with shelves set up and several spinners filled with texts for the students.  The old school library was looking in the head librarian’s words, very tired, and after several years of band aid solutions, it was their “turn” for their share of the budget for the new library.  The junior school and early year’s library is housed in a separate building and consists of several learning areas. Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the large facing out displays of eye catching books, which just invite young patrons to select. It also houses a large classroom area complete with interactive whiteboard.  This library is designed with young children in mind with cheery décor, lots of space and colourful beanbags along with chairs and tables to encourage group study.

Alan sees the library at the school as having a duel function; in supporting the curriculum academically and promoting the lifelong enjoyment of reading.  All Saints have a very user friendly policy, with no limits on borrowing, i.e. students are welcome to borrow as many books as they want at one time.  The emphasis is on interpersonal relationships with no RFID or self check facilities.  Alan told me that the children haven’t taken to the whole e-book phenomenon and there are no plans to reduce the print collection at this stage.  Oliver Version 5 is the catalogue system used across the entire school and they also provide Click view as well as online resources 24/7.  They do not use standing orders and rarely buy online, preferring instead to support three local suppliers; Symons, Netword Education and XYZ Books.

I was very interested to view the architecturally designed plans of the new library.  It will house an extensive collection and in addition to many separate learning areas at the centre of the new library will be a large media centre.  All Saints want to encourage students to be well rounded and aware of world current affairs and will have ABC News 24 hours playing and Sky News being shown for students viewing at any time of the day.

This was a very educational and interesting visit for me, as it gave me the opportunity to see the behind the scenes work that goes into planning a new library, from applying for and obtaining money from budget through to the actual construction and plans for the new library.  I have been invited back for the opening and I look forward to that with much anticipation.








Griffith University Library


The Griffith University Library is located next to the new Gold Coast hospital, (now known as the Griffith University hospital).  The university and library place a large emphasis on science and medical courses such as nursing, and it is a very convenient short walk for students doing placements at the hospital to return to the library and study during breaks.  To accommodate this the library is set out in different zones.  These include a collaboration zone, a learning zone which is also a quiet study zone, print and copy zones and a laptop lounge.  There is also a Microsoft Tech lounge and a silent study zone.  My first impression of the collaboration zone was its similarity to a large airport lounge, with opens rooms/partitions and comfortable lounges spread about.  The day I visited there were many students sitting on these lounges, working on their laptops.  Others sat eating and drinking and chatting in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Griffith University has six libraries spread over five campuses.  There are three library campus coordinators, and I was assisted by the campus co coordinator for the Gold Coast, Julie Aslett.  Julie is also a very long standing staff member.  When I asked how long she has worked at the library, she demurred, saying with a laugh, “Let’s just say I was here when we were still using a card system!” The library and IT division is part of the language division. Library and learning services situated on each campus includes libraries, front service points, and four disciplines which includes academics, learning advisors, information literacy advisors, and IT literature and copyright.  Information management covers acquisitions, resource discovery, archives and digitisation.  The library systems umbrella also covers collection, deselection, ordering, archives and digitisation of records. Their extensive collections include the schools of  health, business and commerce, education, law, humanities and languages, science and engineering and IT.

Whilst each campus is responsible for maintaining their own collection, collection and weeding for the Gold Coast campus of the library is organised from the Nathan campus at Brisbane.  Budget control and collection is also managed centrally by Information Management.  They have a communication team especially appointed to promote the library and run projects for whole of university.  Ninety percent of the library’s texts are now electronic and the library management system used is Millennium and Summons.  I was surprised to hear that the library is open 24 hours a day in the four weeks leading up to exam periods and open until 10 pm at all other times of the year.  To further accommodates students, a large “returns” bin sits in the bus shelter enabling resources to be returned at any hour of the day and night.

This was a very interesting and informative visit for me.  When I did my undergraduate degree through Griffith University twenty years ago, the library consisted of two rooms.  It was an amazing experience  to return this year and see the massive library and  information centre that the students now have at their fingertips.




GCCC Southport Branch Library

The Southport Branch Library of the Gold Coast City Council is situated in a low socio-economic area of Southport.  It supports a very mixed clientele.  Being located in an area where homeless or itinerant members of community tend to gather it is not unusual to see them  in vicinity of library and some use it as a shelter for warmth in winter and to escape the heat in summer. This could account for the two security guards employed at the library; one on door and the other patrolling library.  The library also provides a meeting place for some of the local unemployed and older members of community who can be seen sitting inside reading from the large supply of newspapers and magazines available for its patrons.  The library collection also includes an extensive collection of print and electronic fiction and nonfiction texts.  Free internet and use of computers is provided for all the library’s members.

The library operates a Dolce library management system and encourages the use of self checking out.  These facilities are set up in small cubicles throughout the library.  There is also two automatic “check in” slots just inside the door, allowing patrons to return borrowed resources upon entering the library.  Despite this encouragement of self service, there are always plenty of helpful staff members available on the circulation desk to deal with any queries or problems.  A large colourful children’s corner is set up at the back of library, and regular story time activities are held for young families.

This library endeavours to provide many community services, including classes for the large multicultural population of the Southport area by providing programs such as “English conversation circles” and audio book clubs.  They also run specialist programs such as an Adult Literacy program.  To facilitate this, the  library collection includes a large range of Adult Literacy resources.   I volunteer as a tutor once weekly for this Adult Literacy program and my student is a middle aged lady who wants to improve her reading and writing skills to enable her to be able to complete forms and read for enjoyment.

One of the things that impress me most about the Southport branch is the emphasis that is put on trying to help the community.  Despite the social problems it sometimes faces, staff go out of their way to encourage and assist users, and the library promotes its many free educational programs to the community as much as possible.





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