Community Languages – Moving Beyond the Tick Box Exercise

Sarah Powell and Helen Kwaka with support from The Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) – representative TBC Each year, the Materials Grant from the State Government to South Australia’s Public Library Network is levied in order to purchase and catalogue materials in 15 languages other than English to be held in 12 specialist Community Language collections across the state. A continual decline in loans, and an increasing portion of materials that are not borrowed, lead to a decision to halt the purchase all new materials while the collection was reviewed.

The Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) has been engaged to conduct this review. With 133 member organisations representing over 80% of South Australia’s diverse communities, MCCSA will conduct a series of in person workshops and surveys, where they will aim to determine what Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities know about their local library and what their library can do to support their communities. The review will be finalised in January 2024 and we look forward to presenting the findings at ALIA National.

Will asking our communities reveal a new Community Languages collection format for South Australia, and will this, in turn, impact visitation and loans from these groups? What have MCCSA identified as key information gaps for South Australia’s public libraries as they seek to increase their involvement with multicultural customers and how are these best addressed.

Sarah Powell

Collection Development Librarian, Public Library Services South Australia

Author Bio

Sarah is a Collection Development Librarian within Public Library Services in South Australia. With a focus on digital and data analysis, she works within a small (but mighty!) Collections and Content Team who manage both physical and digital acquisitions for the statewide consortium. 8 years ago, Sarah was the library manager in a remote South Australian mining town – and before that she worked in Minerals Processing for 16 years.

Helen Kwaka

Manager Collections & Content, Public Library Services

Author Bio

Helen Kwaka is Manager, Collections & Content at Public Library Services South Australia. Helen is passionate about public libraries and has worked delivering services to the community for over 25+ years. She was Manager of Library Services at Tea Tree Gully for 15 years, the largest single site within the state. In 2021 she successfully joined the State Library of South Australia as Manager, Collections & Content. The team is responsible for the establishment, and management of contracts for physical and digital content for the South Australian Public Library Network.