Australian libraries implementing eSmart Libraries have witnessed overwhelmingly positive changes since introducing the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s successful evidence-based framework, new evidence shows.
eSmart Libraries is now in almost half of Australian libraries, adopted in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. It has been designed to equip libraries and connect library users with the skills they need for the smart, safe and responsible use of technology.
The framework was launched in 2012 thanks to a partnership with the Telstra Foundation, which has invested $8 million over six years. A total of 647 out of Australia’s 1,500 library branches are now registered.
The framework was developed in conjunction with Australia’s public libraries, which worked closely with the Foundation to inform the direction of eSmart Libraries.
As part of the 2016 eSmart Libraries Evaluation of all participating branches reported that:
Alannah & Madeline Foundation eSmart Libraries Manager Jacqui Kinder said there had been overwhelmingly positive feedback from branch managers, library staff and library users as the number of libraries using the framework continues to grow across Australia in metropolitan, regional and rural areas.
Ms Kinder paid special tribute to the Telstra Foundation, which had provided wonderful and crucial support in the introduction, delivery and implementation of the framework during the past four years.
“Libraries play such a critical role in the community and it is so important that we continue to support them in any way we can,” Ms Kinder said.
“These results show that the eSmart Libraries is making a difference for Australian library users and staff.
“Our goal is to ensure that every library branch in Australia experiences the benefits of eSmart Libraries to ensure people of all ages are smarter, safer and more responsible online.”
General Manager of the Telstra Foundation Jackie Coates said the program is part of Telstra’s vision for a brilliant connected future for everyone.
“We believe that the more connected people are, the more opportunities they have and libraries play a key role in connecting communities to the digital world,” Ms Coates said.
“Being eSmart means knowing how to guard against security and privacy risks that may arise, being able to download safe content and manage online relationships.
“This program helps Australians thrive in an online world in a safe way and we are excited to watch it grow.”
The report was completed by Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.
For more information about eSmart Libraries go to esmartlibraries.org.au or for information on the Alannah & Madeline Foundation go to amf.org.au. Telstra Foundation go to telstrafoundation.com
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