On Friday 19 September, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the Telstra Foundation joined Hume City Council in celebrating Hume Libraries as the first public library service to complete the eSmart Libraries program and achieve eSmart Status.
eSmart Libraries is a cybersafety program helping libraries equip their staff and users with the necessary information to use technology in a smart, safe and responsible way.
Over one-third of all libraries in Australia are currently involved in the program, helping safeguard communities against online risks, and embrace the benefits of technology.
“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,” Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, said.
“The system was launched in schools and we are very proud of the fact that over one in five schools across Australia are currently completing their eSmart journey, which is equipping them with the resources and knowledge to create a school culture that embraces the positives of the ever-changing digital world.”
eSmart Libraries was launched in 2012 by former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. Thanks to an $8 million, multi-year partnership with the Telstra Foundation, it will be offered to 1,500 public libraries in Australia over the next five years.
“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.
“With almost half the Australian population being members of their local library, and over 110 million library visits each year, 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.
In November 2011, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s International Patron, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, visited Hume Library Service to announce the Foundation’s intent to take its successful eSmart program beyond the schoolyard and into the broader community for the first time.
“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,” Coates said.
Frank McGuire, Victorian Member for Broadmeadows and a long-term supporter of the Hume community’s vision for lifelong learning, said attaining eSmart status was just one of many accolades the library service has achieved this year.
“eSmart is crucial because it is teaching our children, our most precious, but most vulnerable citizens, how to make the most of technology and how to be safe,” McGuire said.
“It is fantastic to see Hume – a library service which has Australia’s first multiversity and was recently crowned the world’s best library – being recognised as the first in the country to receive eSmart status.”
Hume Libraries celebrated the achievement of becoming Australia’s first eSmart library with a number of activity hubs, providing users with free advice on setting up their own electronic devices, and access to leading cyber-safety experts who provided adviceon how to stay safe online.