QPLA Regional Round up – June 2023

2023 Highlights – QPLA Northern Queensland Regional representative

Townsville Citylibraries was excited to open the new Citylibraries Riverway facility on 29 April 2023.  Next chapter of Townsville Citylibraries begins with Riverway Library opening – QPLA

North Queensland has been a hive of activity thanks to State Library of Queensland’s RLQ and Small Libraries Workshop held in Innisfail, Far North Queensland. The Workshop focused on the partnership QPLA and SLQ share with public libraries in Queensland.

The workshop began with a deep dive into First 5 Forever which elicited some fantastic stories of success. Karen from Tablelands Regional Council Library Service regaled how successful their Active Play sessions have become. Active Play is A free 30-minute session with fun movements, stretches and activities for supporting fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and physical health. Once the session is finished at 10:00am, the library opens and children and parents are welcome to attend more programs including things like Rhyme time, or simply explore the wonderful space at Tablelands Libraries.

The next topic was Libraries and Communities, and how such a unique relationship can yield incredible benefits for our communities. Staff at Cassowary Coast Regional Council spoke about how two particularly passionate, skilful and creative young school students delivered a program, facilitated by Cassowary Coast Libraries, for the community teaching them how to use Canva. The students toured the region and taught many people essential design and craft skills, furthering the region’s digital literacy skills and channelling those with passions for design and craft to a new and free outlet.

Staff also discussed challenges around activating volunteers, connecting with community groups who may not understand what we in Libraries can offer, and of course, staffing. For every challenge there were suggestions, solutions and a positive can-do attitude which shouldn’t surprise anybody who knows libraries. The constant chatter of action planning and how library staff each measure success and the growth that comes from stepping outside traditional library comfort zones.

Keeping with the Far North theme, Mareeba Shire Library service is doing some interesting things including hosting a special Youth Week program at Mareeba, Chillagoe, Dimbulah and Kuranda over the school holidays. The program is called Light Your Bubble on Fire, presented by Bugzy Bumble Bee and features a free bubble, smoke and fire show followed by a hands-on Bubble workshop. Included in the program is a short talk on fire safety and mental health support and advice channels.

In addition to this great program, Mareeba have begun restructuring their staff to reflect the growing need for digital literacy services in the library. Mareeba’s commitment to providing technology services is terrific to see and restructuring a library service to meet these needs is no small feat.

Well done Mareeba and thank you Cassowary Coast Libraries for hosting a fantastic event in North Queensland.

2023 Highlights – QPLA Central Queensland Regional representative

Banana Shire Council

On Monday 20 March, author Annie Seaton visited the Biloela Library for an author talk, followed by a meet and greet over morning tea.  Annie talked about how she began her writing journey and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Superpowered on Tour is a free QAGOMA Touring program available to regional Queensland communities. Our Biloela, Moura, Theodore, and Taroom Libraries each got a chance to facilitate the program with many families.

getting busy crafting. The activities let imaginations sour with designing superhero costumes, colourful kangaroo masks, party collages, and photo props.

Fraser Coast

Fraser Coast Libraries is preparing for the relocation of the Hervey Bay Library to temporary premises from 20h of June while the roof of the building is repaired.  Staff are determined to provide excellent services to the community at a variety of locations including the Hervey Bay Regional Art Gallery and a temporary building (donga), and our other four regional libraries for several months.


Rockhampton Libraries have seen engagement with both active and passive programs increase substantially this financial year, and as of mid-May have already recorded a total higher than any in the previous ten years.

May has been a hectic month for outreach programming, with library stalls, storytimes and activities offered at events for both children (Messy Play, ROMP in the Park) and adults (Homeless Connect, Wellness forum) reaching over 800 people.  NSS events across the four branches saw approx 100 people  attend, including individual families and school and child care  groups


The Whitsunday Regional Libraries have been out in the community attending the various Under 8’s days at the local schools across the region.  With a sensory tub and a reading mat we created an inviting space for children to explore the world of books and storytelling.  We also had resources for children to make friendship bracelets to fit in with this year’s theme “Play – You, Me and Our Communities”.  We have also been on the road with our Pop Up Library visiting outlining regions such a Gumlu and some of the local playgroups.  Our First 5 Forever Library staff are taking advantage of some professional development opportunities and attending the “Facilitating Play in Libraries” workshop in Townsville and the upcoming “Embedding First Nations Perspectives” workshop at SLQ Brisbane.

2023 Highlights – QPLA South Western Queensland Regional representative


This is exciting for us:   Our Balonne Shire Libraries (Bollon, Dirranbandi, Hebel, Thallon, and St George) have been working together to streamline our services.  We have been endeavouring to encourage parents of First 5 aged children to participate in anything we have going.  As we have no dedicated social media for our libraries, we rely on Council’s media team posting for us along with town community Facebook pages.  Being as four of our towns have very small populations, we have been particularly delighted by the response to holiday activities – especially the cross-library kite making challenge instigated by Shirley from Thallon Library!  Rock painting is the challenge for the June/July holidays care of Sue from Dirran. 😊

Paroo Shire Libraries

How many libraries get the pleasure of having a patron turn 100?!  Cunnamulla Library does! Mrs. Bratton has been a member of the library forever!   Cunnamulla Library member celebrates turning 100 – QPLA

Western Downs

Words Out West Readers & Writers Festival 2023 comprised of 15 events held over 10 days in eight of Western Downs’ towns. 42 sessions, workshops and presentations were conducted by 18 presenters and delivered to 491 The successful event was delivered to 491 unique adult and 2,252 student attendees.

​ Satellite events took place across the region in March, with a focus on Dalby for the main festival weekend. This year’s events calendar consisted of: 

  • ​Author Tour: In Conversation with Rachael Johns, a free event in Jandowae, Chinchilla, Moonie, Wandoan, Miles, Tara and Dalby; 
  • ​Schooners & Stories: An Evening with Brent Tate at the Juandah Hotel Motel Wandoan and The Bun Hotel Kaimkillenbun; 
  • ​Books & Bubbles: with Lion’s Saroo Brierley, a cocktail event at the Dalby Events Centre;  
  • ​Festival Day, a traditional writers festival event with presentations from guest authors; 
  • ​Adult and Youth Writers Retreats, in partnership with Queensland Writer’s Centre; and 
  • ​School Days for primary school-aged students in Dalby and Chinchilla. 

​The events calendar was also bolstered by the annual Words Out West Short Story Competition, which saw entrants write to the theme of ‘Bright Lights’.​  The winners were announced on the main festival day.

Launch of the Library Solus App

Launched our new Library App in April

Picture Western Downs launched in May. Over 400 images have been added this FY. The project is ongoing, and we will seeking assistance from community groups for content as we continue to add local historical content to the database.

South Burnett

Reconfiguration of non-fiction and study area at the Kingaroy Library. Due to an increasing demand for quiet study spaces and areas for community groups to meet, we have recently completed an intensive weeding and deselection of our non-fiction collection in our services’ largest library branch. This process in line with Queensland State Library standards and guidelines for our collection size has not only made the collection more manageable and relevant but has opened the space for better use by community members. Feedback has been very positive with many customers browsing the area and finding their required resources, while having plenty of space to sit and catch up with friends or take some time out for study.

2023 Highlights – QPLA South East Queensland Regional representative

Moreton Bay Regional Libraries

More than 80 people attended the IDAHOBIT Gala at North Lakes Library on Wednesday 18 May. The event aimed to celebrate and support the local LGBTIQA+ community, and included a community catwalk, panel discussion and drag queen performance. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with attendees valuing the inclusivity and authenticity of the evening.

In partnership with the Brisbane Writer’s Festival, Moreton Bay Region Libraries hosted three satellite author talks. 74 people attended the event with Meg Bignell at North Lakes Library on the evening of Thursday 11 May, while Garry Disher and Candice Fox presented at Redcliffe Library on Sunday 14 May to 80 and 91 people respectively.

Sunshine Coast Libraries

Sunshine Coast Libraries held a fabulous evening with Hedley Thomas and Mathew Condon.  Over 500 true crime fans listened to the authors delve into the podcast Teachers Pet and enjoyed the insights they provided on developing successful podcasts and respectfully telling stories of the victims to uncover the truth. 

In February Sunshine Coast Libraries launched a seed library in partnership with the community Maleny Seed library to offer an exchange program of seeds from local and heirloom fruit, herbs and vegetables. The collections allow our communities to swap, grow and contribute to seed sustainability.  

Ipswich Libraries

  • Messy Play in our two smallest branches, Rosewood and Redbank Plains had 150 and 170 attendees respectively – hectic!
  • Ipswich Libraries have a stall at the Ipswich Show for the third year running. Last year there were around 50 new members signed up and lots of interpersonal interactions on services as broad as First 5 Forever, Picture Ipswich, eResources and more. Great awareness building opportunity.
  • Ipswich Libraries are currently working towards loanable Energy Efficiency Kits which we hope will support households struggling with increasing energy bills to monitor their energy usage.
  • Picture Ipswich partnered with our local National Trust group to attend Great Houses of Ipswich and engaged with around 300 people on matters of local heritage and historical architecture.

Redland Libraries

  • Local history talks: Maritime memories, Island life – Tales of the bay, Logger’s crossing, Cemetery walk – opened a second session, both fully booked (70+ people combined)
  • Launched Create and connect sessions: Macrame sessions (6 x sessions fully booked, including a session on our Russell Island Library branch), Watercolour session – fully booked, Seed paper cards – fully booked, Nature craft – fully booked, Crochet ANZAC poppies – fully booked, mindful colouring, paint-by-number – fully booked
  • Author talks: Stella Quinn, Elizabeth Coleman, Grantlee Kieza, Buddhist Nun Gen Ani’s meditation talk (Point Lookout Library, North Stradbroke Island), Belinda Jeffery, Michelle Upton
  • Launched Messy Play:
    • Monthly sessions, so popular we’ve added a second session each month – both fully book out (very cute pics!).
    • Invited to participate in Play Matters Australia’s annual messy play community event:

On behalf of Play Matters Australia I would like to thank you and the rest of the First 5 Forever staff for attending our Messy Play Matters event at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Monday the 15th of May. As always your participation in the event has been a wonderful contribution to its success and we hope you will be able to attend our event next year as well.

  • Fully booked Easter school holiday activities: Bluey and Bingo morning x 2, Easter bilby sand art x 2, Easter wreath, butterfly suncatcher x2  Lego challenge x 3, Larrikin puppet show, STEAM – Origami dragons, STEAM – Scissors, Paper, Rock, Micro:bit x 2)
  • Launched a Financial Masterclass five-part series
  • Launched Health Chat series: Advance Care Planning, Dementia Awareness, Eczema Awareness
  • Launched monthly Documentary screenings (complimenting the monthly family movies and classic matinee movies)

Building modifications: Victoria Point Library to be re-carpeted and Cleveland Library to have an updated external building wrap installed – both refurbs scheduled for May.

Gympie Libraries

March Connect with Technology this month at Gympie Regional Libraries.  This course aims to help people increase their preparedness for a disaster or emergency by connecting with simple online tools and social media. It covers digital skills to use emergency apps, access current and reliable information online and maintain contact with friends, family and emergency services.

William McInnes is one of Australia’s most popular writers, delighting readers with his memoirs A Man’s got to have a hobby and That’d be Right, his novels Cricket Kings, The Laughing Clowns and The Birdwatcher, and his insight into Australian life since the 1940s, written with Essential Media and Entertainment, The Making of Modern Australia. Join the waiting list to be notified if a place becomes available.

Each month our BYOB (that’s Bring Your Own Book) meets at Goomeri Library to discuss what they have been reading. This group meets on the first Friday of each month at the Goomeri Library to discuss great authors and exciting reads.

This month the Armchair Travellers explored Budapest like never before! On this interactive live virtual tour they saw the great architectural monuments left to us by the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the Golden Age of Budapest and uncover the rich and turbulent history of this city through the centuries.

Staff from State Library of Queensland visited Gympie Library to share their knowledge about how to salvage and care for flood damaged collections.  These family treasures often give our lives meaning or remind us of our history.  Water damaged items can be salvaged with quick intervention. Join us for a wonderful session as we look at how we can care for our personal collections.


A Cartooning workshop with Phil Judd was held at Gympie Library.  In this workshop we looked at how to draw both Cute and Crazy looking pets, such as dogs, cats, birds, fish and any other pets you can think of. The workshop included drawing step by step with the teacher. Enabling the children to create their own original pet characters. This workshop also covers professional cartooning techniques e.g. inking in and speech balloons.

Delivered by Red Cross volunteers and staff, the workshop encouraged children to be active participants in their own emergency preparedness. The content was useful for all kinds of emergencies and includes activities to highlight the importance of being prepared. The Pillowcase Project helps to reduce real and imagined fears and has successfully built children’s stress management skills. Suitable for ages 8 – 12 years. 


An introduction to buying and selling online was held at Gympie Library this month where attendees learnt how to stay safer when you buy and sell online from traditional retailers and online marketplaces, such as eBay. They were also shown how to set up a PayPal account to pay for things online securely and how to protect your personal information and details while shopping online.

Last Friday Social Club explored how to Live on a Budget with Roman Spur.  The session shared practical and inexpensive ideas and tips for living. Participants learnt how to save energy and water, make self-watering planter boxes from recycled materials for growing fruit and vegetables, and much more. Grow and making their own is the way to go and live a sustainable, simple and healthy life.

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