Guest post by Megan Sullivan – 2015 Kay Poustie Award winner #blogjune

by | Jun 5, 2015 | Uncategorized

I’m Megan Sullivan – this year’s very excited winner of the Kay Poustie Scholarship . I am the Youth Services Librarian at Manning Library in the City of South Perth. I will be using the scholarship to attend the 2015 IFLA World Congress “Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation” in Cape Town, South Africa in August. While I am there I will be exploring the topic “Engaging Diverse Communities: Developing library services that develop communities”, looking at the ways in which public libraries can best provide innovative and engaging services that add value to their communities, by catering to and celebrating the diversity within their communities.

Public Libraries in WA operate within very diverse communities and I believe that meaningful engagement with all groups within a community will be key to the longevity of public libraries, by solidifying the community’s perception of its value, and allow the community to develop, raising the quality of life of all members of the community. By attending IFLA Congress 2015, I seek to explore, and gain a global perspective on:
  • What role libraries are currently playing in engaging with diverse communities and in developing communities
  • The opportunities that exist to expand this role, in particular, opportunities to build relationships with community groups in order to achieve aims that will benefit both the library and the community
  • The ways in which inclusive and engaging libraries are currently developing their communities, and
  • How can Western Australian Public Libraries achieve more?

I believe that Public Libraries in Western Australia have the potential to benefit immensely by putting energy into outreach and partnerships, and that these activities will become increasingly essential to effectively engaging with diverse communities. At IFLA 2015, I will be looking for examples of best practice that exist around the world for outreach programmes and partnerships, I will be looking at how libraries identify the key groups within their communities to build partnerships with, and identifying what potential aims Western Australian Public Libraries could achieve through outreach and partnerships. I am really looking forward to hearing the experiences of libraries from all around the world!

There are a wide range of sessions on offer at IFLA 2015 that relate to aspects of community development through engagement, and that offer enormous potential benefits to Western Australian Public Libraries. I am looking forward to having a packed schedule and bringing back as much knowledge as I can to share with the WA Public Library community. I will also be attending the Public Libraries Section Satellite Conference, “Public Libraries at the Crossroads” in the days prior to IFLA 2015, and attending a full day tour visiting three of the City of Cape Town Libraries in the North of Cape Town


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