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Newsletters - Library Extension Program - LEP Newsletter 47 - February 2004

2004 Year Book Australia Out Now

Just released, the 2004 Year Book Australia has been sent to all LEP libraries. This year's issue has a special focus on Indigenous issues, as well as information on the wider Australian society and economy.

Available as a beautifully presented hard bound volume, the 2004 Year Book Australia is also in full text on the Australia Now web pages.

Back in 1908, the first Australian statistician, G. H. Knibbs, described ABS Year Books as covering Australian statistics in terms of the individual States, the progress of Australia as a nation and a comparison of Australia and other leading industrial nations. He also pointed out a feature of the publication is its use of maps and diagrams. And it hasn't changed in 2004.

Year Book Australia provides a user friendly introduction to statistics about Australia and can be the starting point for answering many a reference question from your clients.

The front cover of the 2004 Year Book features a painting commissioned by the ABS, a collaborative work of 35 artists from the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Association of Yuendumu in the Tanami Desert north-west of Alice Springs.

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LEP goes Way Out West

Battling flocks of marauding birds, braking for kangaroos, swerving to miss turtles and giving way to snakes were all part of an LEP training trip late last year by Queensland LEP Coordinator, Tanya Lucas.

Tanya drove 2,047km to train at LEP member libraries in Chinchilla, Roma, Charleville and Cunnamulla.

photo: Roma Town Library - Tammy Bohnet, Ellen Smith and Joanna Weinert
Roma Town Library - Tammy Bohnet, Ellen Smith and Joanna Weinert

Notes from Tanya's diary will take you through the major stops on her outback training adventure:

Day 1: I traversed the Darling Downs region to Chinchilla, 300km west of Brisbane. Chinchilla Municipal Library recently took up the eLEP service, therefore the visit provided a timely training opportunity. Judy Bell, Chinchilla library manager, invited librarians from other district libraries to attend the day's training which covered eLEP, LEP and CLIB. Staff from three other libraries attended the training sessions, including Alastair Silcock from Pittsworth Shire Library and Gaylene Sheridan from Chinchilla State High School Library. Helen Swendson and Katrina Hills from Kingaroy Library travelled two hours to attend the LEP training day at Chinchilla. "We really gained from what you explained to us about how to use and access the material," Helen said.

Day 2: My visit to Roma Town Library, 484km west of Brisbane, coincided with Prince Harry's stay in the area, but I didn't see him! Roma Town Library staff, Tammy Bohnet and Ellen Smith, and library assistant Joanna Weinert from Warroo Shire Library, Surat, 90km away, attended ABS web site and CLIB training. "Not more than 10 minutes after getting back to work when a local student walked in with homework questions," said Joanna. "After my day of training it took only minutes to connect to the ABS web site and find the answer." Tammy and Ellen said they found it easier to retain knowledge of training that involved hands-on learning.

Day 3: At Murweh Shire Council Municipal Library in Charleville - 'the hub of the south west' 760km west of Brisbane - CLIB and web site training proved beneficial for library staff Lyndy Steer and Gail Terry, who said that, "we definitely feel more confident when helping clients". They also plan to promote the use of CLIB and Census data in their library by displaying a series of 'Do you know? information tasters' about their town and shire.

Day 4: In Cunnamulla, 815km west of Brisbane, Paroo Shire Library librarian Penny Jackson said the CLIB/ABS web site training was useful and practical.

Tanya's thoughts: "The highlights of the trip included sitting under the night sky in Charleville looking at the stars, meeting the library staff, chatting to the friendly locals and watching an outback storm in Cunnamulla."

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Senate Report on Libraries

Like all in the library and information community the ABS Library Extension Program was very interested in the Report of the Senate Inquiry into Libraries in the Online Environment released in October 2003.

We were delighted to be singled out for special commendation in the Report and thank all those libraries who mentioned the ABS and LEP in their Submissions. To quote from the Report: "While many departments have quite comprehensive web sites, providing links to large numbers of their publications, other government agencies are limited in what they provide online. Nor does there appear to be any uniformity in what is made available or for how long. One notable and commendable exception is the Australian Bureau of Statistics, whose library extension program was warmly regarded by all."

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The eLEP Top Ten
Which ABS publications are being downloaded most often in libraries subscribing to the eLEP web service? In 2003, the Top 10 ABS titles were:
1. Consumer Price Index, Australia (ABS 6401.0)
2. Australian Demographic Statistics (ABS 3101.0)
3. Regional Population Growth (ABS cat. no. 3218.0)
4. Average Weekly Earnings, States and Australia (ABS 6302.0)
5. Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (ABS 3401.0)
5. Average Retail Prices of Selected Items, Eight Capital Cities (ABS 6403.0)
6. Australian Economic Indicators (ABS 1350.0)
7. Australian Standard Classification of Occupations 2nd Edition (ABS 1220.0)
8. Population by Age and Sex, Australia (ABS 3201.0)
9. Labour Force, Australia; Preliminary (ABS 6202.0)
10. House Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities (ABS 6416.0)

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Temperatures soar on WA training trip - but librarians stay cool

Western Australia LEP Coordinator David Brown beat back the heat on recent visits to LEP libraries all over WA, from Esperance to Carnarvon and Merredin to Harvey.

David's trip late last year to Merredin Regional Library Service, located about 250km east of Perth in the WA wheatbelt, saw temperatures soaring to more than 41 degrees on the day of the visit, but David didn't let that stop the training! Despite the heat, the training was a great success.

He also travelled to the south west of WA visiting Manjimup, Albany and Narrogin Public Libraries and conducted training at all three.

This was followed by a flight to Carnarvon in the Gascoyne region of WA. "While Carnarvon is only 900km from Perth, I had to stay overnight because the daily flight out of Carnarvon departs just 30 minutes after the inbound flight - a quick 30 minute LEP session in the airport lounge was not really sufficient!" David explained. "It was a good excuse to enjoy some country hospitality from Librarian Shirley Slatter and assistant Sa Toomalatai," said David. He conducted several training sessions covering all aspects of the LEP program and re-connected Carnarvon District Public Library to eLEP via their new ADSL line.

On a trip to Harvey in the south west of WA, David spoke at the South West Librarians regional meeting about the benefits of the eLEP service.

He also made a quick trip to the far south east of the state to Esperance Public Library, where he presented an information session to Library staff and people from a range of other organisations.

Overall, David covered more than 5,500km, visiting seven libraries, three of which had not been visited previously by the LEP.

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Chisholm goes eLEP and all trained up!

Early last year Chisholm TAFE library joined the LEP program and quickly took up the opportunity to connect to the eLEP service. They now have web access to publications at all of their campuses. Chisholm arranged several training sessions for their library staff during October and November 2003. The Victorian LEP Coordinator, Helen Leary, visited several campuses and trained about 30 staff in using eLEP and CLIB 2001.

Chisholm is a key vocational provider in south-east Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and South Gippsland with campuses at Bass Coast, Berwick, Cranbourne, Dandenong, Frankston, Noble Park and Rosebud. It offers more than 220 courses and is home to about 50,000 students each year. Formed in 1998 through the merger of several TAFEs, Chisholm was named after Caroline Chisholm who was known as 'the emigrant's friend' for her pioneer work with poor migrants to Australia during the 1800s.

photo: Leeanne Graham, LEP contact at Chisholm Institute of TAFE
Leeanne Graham, LEP contact at Chisholm Institute of TAFE

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Mining the archives

Working on the ABS history for the ABS centenary year in 2005, our historians found this story that was reported in the "Daily Telegraph" in 1996.

"Census collectors heard one of the best excuses for not completing the form when a family said their census form was stuck in the newly-laid cement floor of their Sydney home. Apparently when the collector slipped the form under the door it went straight into the cement which had been laid that day. The family was given a new census form to fill out."

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As I write, preparations are under way to launch the 2004 issue of that great ABS resource, the Year Book Australia. The 2004 issue is number 86 in a series that began in 1901. Every LEP member library will receive a copy, as will many other libraries eligible through the LEP.

Also of interest to public librarians will be the newly released ABS publication Australia Online. This study, based on data from the 2001 Census, shows how Australians are using computers and the Internet. Librarians will not be surprised that the findings highlight the need for access to the Internet in public libraries and schools.

Finally, I would like to let you know that the May issue of the LEP Newsletter will be a special edition for Library and Information Week and that we will be providing promotional materials to help promote ABS information in your library.

Kim Farley-Larmour
LEP National Manager

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Welcome to my first NetNews column, taking over from Gary Dunnet who has taken up a new position.

I am enjoying the challenges of my new position in statistical publishing which is at the forefront of ABS technological developments. I know libraries are vitally interested in technological advances and in this column I will be outlining some of the latest developments in the ABS to keep you informed.

Usability testing, the new buzz word for web site evaluation, is in full swing at the ABS and we have been testing proposed changes to our web site home page and new product portal layout. Testers, recruited from outside the ABS, took part in prototype testing in December last year in the ABS' specially developed 'Cognitive Lab'. Results from the testing are now being incorporated into more detailed designs planned for release later this year.

Australia's population reached 20 million on 5 December 2003. Federal Treasurer Peter Costello gave a speech at the ABS to mark the occasion, broadcast live to staff and made available almost immediately on the ABS web site. These can be viewed from the 'Population Clock' page of the ABS web site. From the ABS home page, choose 'Statistics' and then 'Australia's current population' to find the Population Clock.

The self-service Email notification system, launched on the ABS web site in August 2003, continues to grow in popularity with more than 1,900 clients making use of the facility by early February this year. This free service allows users to register topics of interest and receive email messages on days when products of interest are released. Register by clicking here.

Work continues on improving the search facilities on the ABS web site. This service is currently being trialled and a number of LEP libraries have assisted us with this, prior to its full release.

For further information on this, or any of the other developments that I have mentioned, please contact me at

Mano Georgopoulos, ABS Statistical Publishing Development

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Queensland in review - on the ABS web site

Queensland in Review is a series of web pages about life in Queensland. The pages include articles on ageing, the economy, employment, crime and many other topics.

Queensland in Review is arranged around themes:
  • General Information
  • Population Characteristics
  • Social Characteristics of Population
  • Economic Characteristics of Population
  • Industry
  • Economy
  • Environment
Bookmark Queensland in Review as work is ongoing and further articles and data updates will be added.

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Interested in culture and recreation?

Culture and Recreation News is produced every six months and provides information about the wide range of ABS data on culture, sport and recreation - including some information about libraries. The ABS' National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics (NCCRS) can mail it to your library either as a printed copy or by email on request. It is free.

To subscribe to the printed version email

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Just released - Australia Online

A study on Internet usage has highlighted the need for access in public libraries and schools, because Australians not in the work force, Indigenous Australians, children and those in disadvantaged households were most likely to be unconnected.

The Australian Census Analytic Program: Australia Online: How Australians are Using Computers and the Internet, 2001 (ABS cat. no. 2056.0) also shows that small country town usage was well below the national average for home computers (32% compared with 42% nationally) and the Internet (25% compared with 37% nationally). In urban areas, teenagers led the way in Internet usage (60%) and home computer usage (70%).

Core list LEP libraries may request an emailed copy and eLEP and AusStats subscribers may access it from the link above.

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New and forthcoming releases

These titles are a selection of what the ABS is releasing this quarter. It is not a complete list of ABS releases. A full list is available from Information on Releases.

AusStats and eLEP subscribers may access these titles on the ABS web site as soon as they are released. Core list LEP libraries may request an electronic copy of any of these titles by emailing

General Social Survey, Summary Results, Australia 2002 (ABS 4159.0.55.006). Released 16/2/2004.
A really valuable title for libraries, it focuses on the relationships between characteristics from different areas of social concern, rather than in-depth information about a particular field. Topics include health, housing, education, work, income, financial stress, broad assets and liabilities, transport, family and community, and crime.

The National Regional Profile (NRP) (ABS cat. no. 1379.0.55.001) is another valuable title for libraries. Due out in March. Presents a brief statistical summary of key economic and social information for various levels of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). Broad indicators shown include population, births and deaths, unemployment, building approvals, and agriculture. This will be available free on the ABS web site.

Deaths from External Causes, Australia, 1998 to 2002 (ABS cat. no. 3320.0) Released 6/2/2004. An overview of deaths from external causes of injury. Provides numbers of deaths and death rates for selected external causes for special populations at risk.

Energy Statistics, Australia 2001-02 (ABS 4649.0.55.001) Released 19/12/2003. This survey collected information on energy use across the non-household sectors of the domestic Australian economy. It includes electricity, natural gas, petroleum products, coal and renewable energy. Summary available free on the ABS web site.

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The December 2003 issue of the Local Government and ABS Newsletter includes:
  • Local government protecting and managing the environment - how much?
  • Regional Statistics Program
  • Local Government Finance - what's happening?

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Shortcuts: New! Easier access to eLEP on the web

Does your library subscribe to the eLEP service? Would you like a simple straight-forward eLEP entry point on the ABS web site?

The new eLEP entry point on the ABS web site is a 'one-stop shop' for eLEP. Short and simple, the new page provides just three links to:
  • eLEP entry page
  • eLEP Licence Conditions
  • eLEP Frequently Asked Questions

Use the URL of this new page on your library's web site - and make it easier for your staff and clients to find the ABS information they need.

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