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.

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.

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





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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