The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the Telstra Foundation along with Hume City Council will today celebrate Hume Libraries becoming Australia’s first eSmart Library Service, recognising it is equipped to support its customers to use technology in a smart, safe and responsible way.
eSmart Libraries is one of the most significant community cybersafety programs ever undertaken in Australia, with over one-third of all libraries in Australia currently involved in the program. Hume Libraries became the first public library service to complete the program and achieve eSmart Status in August.
Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation said Hume’s achievement was a significant milestone in the Foundation’s journey towards creating an eSmart Australia, where all Australians are safe, smart and responsible online.
“Being eSmart means knowing how to guard against security and privacy risks online, download content in a legal and ethical way, research and reference information, and manage reputation and relationships in cyberspace,” she said.
“Hume’s continuous dedication and enthusiasm for the eSmart program, shows that local communities are as committed to promoting cybersafety as we are.”
“This is important as given almost half the Australian population are a member of their local library and there were 114 million visits in the past year, libraries are a great environment for sharing the best tips to equip Australians from all walks of life with the skills to be safe online. This is a big leap forward towards creating an eSmart Australia”
Launched in August 2012 by the former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, the $8 million, multi-year partnership with the Telstra Foundation is delivering eSmart Libraries in collaboration with Australia’s library network to all 1,500 public libraries in Australia.
“We are very lucky to have a partner such as Telstra, who has recognised that libraries are a key access point to technology for many Australians and has made an enormous contribution to support us to get the message out to every library in Australia,” Dr Slocombe said.
Telstra Foundation’s National Manager Jackie Coates said Telstra was thrilled to celebrate Australia’s first eSmart Library.
“We know that libraries play a vital role in bridging the digital divide, connecting communities to the online world and reaching out to some of the most disadvantaged members of our society,” she said.
“By making the online library experience safer for everyone, eSmart Libraries will give more Australians the opportunity to experience the social and economic benefits of new digital technologies.”
Hume Mayor, Councillor Casey Nunn said Council is excited and proud to be the first library service in Australia to achieve eSmart Status and builds on the achievements of Craigieburn Library, which was recently awarded the Best International Public Library of the Year.
“This has been the culmination of hard work by our library staff to integrate cybersafety in our daily operations, staff development and organisational culture,” Cr Nunn said.
“We believe that due to advancements in technology, making sure our library and library users know how to be cybersafe, is a matter of priority. eSmart Libraries is helping us achieve this by building on and improving our current policies, strategies and guidelines, and empowering us to pass this knowledge onto our users,” Cr Nunn also said.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher MP congratulated the collaboration and hoped Hume would be the first of many eSmart libraries.
“I congratulate the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, the Telstra Foundation and Hume City Council for launching Australia’s first eSmart library service. The eSmart program is a great initiative to promote the smart, safe and responsible use of technology and I hope this is the first of many eSmart library services around Australia,” Mr Fletcher said.
The library will celebrate the achievement with a number of activity hubs that will provide library users with free advice on setting up their electronic devices and access to leading cybersafety experts who will provide advice on how to stay safe online.