News from Australia

Katy Watson shared this comment on this post. I wanted to send it out via the blog feed:

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is shocked by the destruction the Victorian bushfires have caused to lives, townships and communities. We thank all the Australians and Australian libraries that are supporting these devastated areas and encourage everyone to donate time and money to assist those affected. Donations can be made to the Red Cross bushfires appeal. The information below has been kindly supplied by John Murrell – Public Libraries Victoria Network President.

Victoria’s Devastating Bushfires

The horrific bushfires across Victoria over the weekend have devastated the lives of many Victorians.  Every Victorian community has been impacted in some way by these tragic events.  Together we can all help.

For those who have been personally affected, or know of colleagues or friends and relatives that have, it is important to know that there is immediate support available now. 

Assistance available and information for people wanting to help

There are a range of support services which offer personal, emotional, psychological and financial help to those affected. As library staff you may be asked for advice and guidance.  Your best starting point for information about the assistance available will be to contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 or view assistance available at  http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency/current-events/bushfire.

For those wanting to do something more to help, the easiest way is to make a donation to an agency that is already helping affected communities, or to seek their advice on how to help: 

http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency/current-events/bushfire/advice-for-people-wanting-to-help

What’s happened to public libraries? The Mitchell, Yarra Plenty, Murrindindi, West Gippsland, Eastern Regional, La Trobe City, Upper Murray, High Country, Wellington, Wimmera and Goldfields libraries are all serving bushfire affected communities. 

Many people have expressed particular concern about the Murrindindi Library Service. Our most recent information is that the libraries in Kinglake, Yea and Alexandra are still standing.  The devastated township of Marysville was served by a mobile library.

At this stage it appears that there has been no loss of library buildings across the State and that no Victorian public library staff have lost their lives. Sadly a number have lost their homes and many have lost stock. The majority of services continue to operate, although some mobile library services have been curtailed until it is safe to venture into the area. Several libraries are helping with the provision of relief services in their areas.

Public libraries across the State stand ready to support their local communities during the recovery process in whatever way is most helpful to individual communities. Local Government Victoria is working with affected councils on a range of resourcing, service and infrastructure issues, including libraries.  There have been many helpful suggestions for ways that libraries can assist in community recovery, once the immediate issues of loss of life and property have been addressed.  We will be taking these up at the appropriate time. 

John Murrell
President
Public Libraries Victoria Network(formally VICLINK)

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