What is eSmart Libraries?

What is eSmart Libraries?

eSmart Libraries is a cyber safety framework designed to fully equip libraries, staff and library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of digital technology. 

Public libraries are the most heavily used community centres in Australia, and reach out to some of the most disadvantaged members of our society. More than half of the population are public library members, who make over 110 million visits a year to 1,500 public libraries across Australia. More than half of these libraries are already participating in the eSmart Libraries program. The eSmart Libraries Framework has been developed from a holistic and evidence-based approach, and considers how the library and community can develop smart,  safe and responsible digital behaviours.

There is no fee for public libraries to join, and libraries will gain access to the evidence-based framework, resources, newsletters and support. eSmart Libraries is a partnership between the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and the Telstra Foundation. It is one of the most significant community cyber safety initiatives ever undertaken in Australia. The Telstra Foundation has invested $8 million to implement eSmart Libraries in all 1,500 public libraries, as part of their commitment to make a positive and lasting difference to communities across Australia.

Benefits

  • eSmart Libraries provides a free and comprehensive solution to help the library integrate  cyber safety in its policies, agreements, staff development, organisational culture, training and day to day operations.
  • The eSmart Libraries Framework helps libraries identify gaps in their policies and operations by offering a well-structured action plan that links to best practice resources.
  • The library can track progress and access resources using a bespoke online system tool. The interactive tool links the framework, actions and resources, giving libraries what they need, when they need it.
  • Implementing eSmart Libraries helps mitigate risks. By participating in the program, libraries can demonstrate their progress in embedding cyber safety and wellbeing in their library practices.
  • eSmart Libraries helps library staff improve their guidance and training for library users. Users gain the skills they need to use digital technologies confidently and safely to get the best out of digital technology and avoid cyber-risks.
  • The most relevant resources and practical tools in cyber safety are collated in one place. Resources are carefully selected and developed by specialists and come in a variety of formats, including videos and interactive games.
  • eSmart Libraries is designed to be adaptable and flexible for all types of libraries - metropolitan, regional, rural, remote and mobile – providing useful guidance to libraries who may have taken some steps to increase awareness and skills in cyber safety, digital literacy and digital citizenship and those who are keen to start.
  • eSmart helps reduce the digital divide by empowering staff and users to increase knowledge and skills to navigate the online world in a safe, smart and responsible way.
  • eSmart Libraries is an extension of a proven model. eSmart Schools was based on a well-researched approach to behaviour change and has been rolled out to more than 2,000 schools with very successful results. 
  • The eSmart Libraries framework is not prescriptive. It enables flexibility so that organisations can tailor the requirements of the framework to suit their particular library community.
  • The library is seen to be taking deliberate steps to manage potential breaches, educate its library community and up skill staff to model responsible online behaviour.

Why your Library needs eSmart

The online world is becoming a greater part of everyday life and libraries are the knowledge centres at the forefront of providing access and assistance to the community.

The eSmart framework for libraries has been developed from a holistic and evidence-based approach and considers how the whole library community can develop smart, safe and responsible digital behaviours.

eSmart Libraries could assist your library service if:

  • You don’t have the time to think about what needs to be done – tapping into a comprehensive (and free-to-use) solution would really help.
  • You are aware of cyber safety but unsure if it is really integrated into the knowledge, skills and approaches of your library.

Testimonials

Lynn Spurling – President of PLSA, Jan 2018
Our staff collectively travelled the journey together and have increased their confidence through this process of accreditation. 

Suzanne Verrall -Library Technician, Adelaide Plains Libraries, Nov 2017
“Library staff are better skilled and more confident thanks to eSmart and our community is well on the way to becoming more digitally informed and confident also.”

Kay Gray - Digital Services Technician, Esperance Public Library, Sept 2017
“The library is perfectly positioned to deliver cyber safety information and our Facebook post on eSafety Women was shared outside of the usual networks.”

Jessie Lopez - eSmart Libraries Coordinator, Mornington Peninsula Library Service, July 2017
“We felt happy with the information we provided to the community, but knew there was room to improve. 
eSmart is helping us be more creative and enthusiastic in delivering better information to our community. “

eSmart Working Group, East Gippsland Shire Council Libraries, June 2017 

“Being able to promote ourselves as an eSmart Library service could potentially increase our reputation, trust and approachability with customers.  It was thought that customers may associate the library as a safe place to go for advice and information”

Kathe James - A/Manager Mitcham Library Service, July 2016

We now have the tools, direction, and support to become a place where our community can ask questions about privacy settings on snapchat or emails that might be phishing or how to set up parental controls on a tablet or Ipad."

Jane Baker - eSmart Libraries Joint Coordinator, Greater Dandenong Libraries, March 2016

eSmart Celebration at Greater Dandenong Library

“Implementing eSmart has enabled us to use the framework to embed enhanced and more developed policies and processes into the everyday operation of our libraries. We have created many different programs and pathways to increase our communities digital literacy and assisted in increased positive online experiences throughout Greater Dandenong and beyond.”




Deb Summers - President of PLWA, Feb 2016

“PLWA supports any effort that leads to raising awareness and improving online safety in the community, and the eSmart Libraries Policy will be of great benefit to public libraries as they proceed through the eSmart accreditation process.

Paul Hatcher - New Technologies/Branch Manager at Whitehorse Manningham Libraries, Nov 2015
“Prior to eSmart, our approach towards cybersafety had been fairly ad hoc. Implementing eSmart has enabled us to provide a more consolidated and consistent delivery of eSmart awareness to the community.”

Christine Mackenzie - CEO of Yarra Plenty Regional Library Corporation, Nov 2015
“eSmart provides a framework for libraries to ensure their processes are in place to provide a cyber-safe environment for their users. It is great to see so many public libraries being accredited and Yarra Plenty Regional Library is proud to now be an eSmart library.”

Birgit Nielsen - eSmart Coordinator at Alice Springs Public Library, July 2015
“Libraries can usually tick off some of  the actions before they begin. They can easily break down eSmart Libraries into ‘bite-size’ steps and can work on actions that are taking place in their library ie. reporting incidents and reviewing library procedures. Talking to new colleagues, Council staff members and library users about e-safety strengthens the community, particularly vulnerable patrons and carers.”       

Susan Dalgleish - Shire of Capel Library Service WA, July 2015
"We have identified the methodology and guidelines used by eSmart are a framework to organise much of what we are already doing. The eSmart methodology has provided our libraries with a sound cyber safety checklist of what we need to do, along with assisting us with the provision of templates to structure the information we need to provide to our Community."

Astrid Hancock - Mount Isa Libraries QLD, May 2015
"Implementing eSmart will enforce the fact that the library has always and will always be there for the community as a safe haven."

Mayor, Cr. Felicity Frederico - Bayside City Council VIC, February 2015
“In our community one of the greatest barriers to the uptake of digital technology is fears about safety online, particularly among older adults. Running regular cyber safety education programs and providing resources via eSmart Libraries helps us achieve our aim of increasing community access to digital technologies."

Jenny Mustey – Campaspe, Bendigo Times, Aug 7, 2013

Campaspe Library eSmart Status celebration (Jenny Mustey centre). 

“Our service strives to be at the forefront of innovation in terms of community access to digital technologies and we have been concerned with cyber safety issues for some time. Libraries have always been there as a starting point for people, whether it had been the introduction of the internet or email. It was only obvious that the best place to start with the eSmart program is in a library because that is where people feel most comfortable.”

Tracey Roberts – Wanneroo, WA, InMycommunity, June 20, 2013
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said internet access was one of the most common services used by the City’s 73,000 library members. “eSmart is an important program for libraries and the community,” she said.

Kathryn Taylor – Hume, VIC, Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Weekly, June 25, 2013
HUME libraries, including Sunbury’s, are among the first in the state to test-drive a program designed to promote cyber safety. The eSmart Libraries program, being piloted by 21 Australian library services, aims to give communities a better understanding of the benefits and risks of using technology. Sunbury library spokeswoman said: “Like many libraries, we recognise that having the skills to live, learn and work in a digital world are more important than ever.”  

Nicky Klein, Moonee Valley, VIC
"Our customers trust us to provide secure technology for their personal use. eSmart is vital in ensuring that we achieve this in a safe, smart and responsible way. eSmart Libraries is giving our library service the opportunity to comprehensively review policy and procedures. Additionally, it is empowering staff to be confident in their knowledge when assisting customers on such important issues as cyber safety."

Training and program feedback

From training evaluation:

"Hands on activities were very beneficial. Loved exploring the website and (sic) discovering all the resources. The eSmart website gives each library an easy way to start working straight away. Training was very useful and ran professionally."

"The website walk-through showcased how comprehensive and “fail-proof” the program is. It was great to learn how to access and share the information we find/create."

From the pre-implementation survey:

"A great introduction to the implementation of cyber safety in public domains as I have only been involved with how it’s implemented within school and education environments. Learning from each other and through discussions being a relaxed and interactive environment. Confidence in using this program is an important step towards developing our own program."

"Understanding that the work we have been doing in our library is on the right path. We are feeling much more confident in moving forward from this point. The volume of quality resources available to utilise is just awesome!"

Supporters

While developing eSmart Libraries, we worked closely with representatives from the library sector to inform the pilot’s direction and best practice guidance.

We established consultative groups with various stakeholders, strategic and operational, to make sure we gained feedback and insight to achieve a fit-for-purpose framework and will continue to do so.

Jan Richards, Chair of the Australian Library and Information Association Public Library Advisory Committee, said:

We are really supportive of this initiative. It fits so well with libraries being essential community resources – physical and online spaces for people to share knowledge and ideas.

"The internet has opened so many new doors for library professionals to help library users discover inspiration and information at their fingertips," said Jan Richards.

Industry supporters of eSmart Libraries include:

 

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