2023 Highlights – Aug/Sept – QPLA Southwest Queensland Region – Melanie Mills


The Western Downs Early Years Reference Group hosted its inaugural ‘Under 6’s Day’ in Dalby which was a fantastic success, attended by over 250 children and their parents and caregivers. The morning involved of a range of child activities from 28 local partners comprised of primary schools, childcare providers, allied health professionals, and community service organisations. We received positive feedback from parents and stall holders and was a great opportunity for families to connect with local playgroups, community stakeholders, and allied health services. Western Downs has also introduced Junior and Young Adult Graphic Novel collections to its nine branches. In the last four months these graphic novel collections have generated a turnover of twice of its regular counterparts, with 133 loans for YA, and 1104 loans for the junior.

MARANOA LIBRARIES – New Residents Packs

Packs are now available at all branches. By equipping newcomers with the necessary information to engage in community activities, including library services, the project facilitates their seamless assimilation.  Moreover, by incorporating information about co-located art galleries and community arts and cultural organisations, the pack emphasises the vibrant nature of our libraries as community hubs.


Library staff took a roadtrip to St George Library in August.  As many Rural Libraries Queensland  (RLQ) services are located some distance from each other making visits rare,  these two lucky RLQ’s (two hours apart) spent a windy Saturday taking a tour of the St George Library which opened in February 2022, discussing everything from chairs and tables, holiday programs and the sharing of resources. The Goondiwindi visit concluded with more ‘collaborating’ over lunch at the local winery!!


This year the library team have been making use of the resources provided by the Australian Government’s Be Connected initiative (https://beconnected.esafety.gov.au/) to help improve digital skills of seniors in our community.

The team have livestreamed six presentations in the library so far with an average of four to seven seniors attending regularly. The presentations are excellent for visual learners and those who prefer to learn as a group, and handouts covering the main points are available for us to print for the attendees. Following each presentation, staff answer any questions and help attendees practice any new skills. Topics range from online shopping and banking to scam protection. Library staff have appreciated how accessible and straightforward the content is and have received similar feedback from our attendees.

Most recently, they really enjoyed the iPhone and Android phone basics presentations which included learning their phone’s accessibility features and how to use the torch. For staff, the program is simple to run and doesn’t require a lot of preparation (which we appreciate as a two-person team!), but still allows us to provide digital literacy programming. It’s been great to see familiar faces as well as new library users attending and we hope to continue the program next year!

SOMERSET LIBRARIES – Play and Stories at The Condensery

Nestled in the heart of Toogoolawah village, Toogoolawah Library and The Condensery work together to bring play, stories and the visual arts to the Toogoolawah community.

Originally Australia’s first condensed milk factory, The Condensery opened as a contemporary regional gallery in 2015. The gallery connects the community and visitors with art and artists, producing and presenting art exhibitions, programs and activities. One of the programs offered by The Condensery is a themed Creation Station which extends visitors’ experience of the exhibitions and space.

The library works with The Condensery to provide a selection of books and age-appropriate creative activities for the Creation Stations. Every month the library delivers an exhibition-themed program of creative play and stories on the grounds of the Condensery. Stanely, the library’s First Five Forever mobile play and story box trailer provides toys, books, mats, marquees and more.

October’s Storytime and Creation Station will focus on poetic works, phases of the moon, the ocean and space complementing the evocative works of Ian Friend’s Intimate Immensity. Storytime at The Condensery is a Somerset Regional Council and First Five Forever initiative that blends stories, creating and the visual arts in an historic, rural setting to be enjoyed by the Toogoolawah community and visitors to the region.


South Burnett Libraries regularly attend community events across our region in partnership with local organisations.  These outreach opportunities help make our service more visible to community members who may not be aware of the resources and programs that are available to them for free at their local library.  Recently, staff across our branches have noticed an uptake in visitation, as well as new memberships, with new faces also attending programs including Rhyme Time and Story Time.  We are excited to see the results of getting out and about in our community and look forward to attending a number of community events in the upcoming months.


The Toowoomba Regional Council recently adopted, Connecting through Creativity – Toowoomba Region Cultural Strategy 2023–2028. The strategy has arisen from the identified need to provide a framework to guide Council’s role in delivering and maximising cultural outcomes for the region whilst working effectively with the community to achieve its desired outcomes.   

The Strategy is key to what we do in Library and Cultural Services, the principles, goals and actions that make up the strategy framework align closely with the work we are undertaking in libraries, galleries and museums and will assist us in planning for the future.

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