Multicultural research

Last updated:  28 May 2024

First language reading and the role of public libraries

In 2021 the State Library partnered with Charles Sturt University on a project to understand the experience of reading in first language and the role played by public libraries in supporting this experience. Twelve participants from 11 language groups were interviewed and all participants expressed the importance of reading in their first language.  

The project report  outlines the research process and findings.  


Watch the recording to learn about the research process and findings.

Embracing cultural identity in public libraries

In 2021 the State Library partnered with Charles Sturt University and Wagga Wagga City Library on a project to understand the impact of embracing the cultural identity of a burgeoning ethnic group in a regional public library. This was a pilot project with the Punjabi Indian Community in the Riverina. The research involved a community survey with feedback used to develop library collections and programs, and an evaluation of these changes. The recommendations for Wagga Wagga City Library may be useful for other libraries to consider in the development of collections and the delivery of programs and services for culturally and linguistically diverse groups in the community.

The project report outlines the research project and findings.

Research into multicultural services in NSW public libraries

The State Library of NSW commissioned a project to explore to what extent public libraries in New South Wales are evolving to meet the changes in local demographics, service expectations, community needs and access to technology for non-English speaking members of the community.

The findings of this research project update earlier research commissioned by the State Library.  

The benchmarks draw on the findings and recommendations of the Multicultural Library Services in New South Wales Public Libraries state-wide research project in 2017.


In 2000, a comprehensive survey of multicultural service delivery in NSW public libraries was conducted, and provided examples of local, national and international service delivery that libraries could use as models to improve their own services.  

In 2003, further research was undertaken to review multicultural library services, identify users' needs and map opportunities for wider engagement of non-English speaking background audiences.  The publication Culturally diverse communities and the public library: a review of NSW public library multicultural services resulted from the 2003 project and included benchmarks categorised against a five-point scale.  



The Public Libraries Victoria Network Multicultural Services and Programs Special Interest Group joined forces with the State Library of NSW in a collaborative advocacy effort in support of our diverse communities and the right to enjoy films in their chosen languages.

Over four years this collaborative effort extended to include peak representation from states across Australia in discussions with the Australian Classification Board. This paper by Mare Maticevski and Oriana Acevedo outlines the steps taken in a move towards a solution that will benefit Public Libraries across Australia and our diverse communities.

Presented at the Asia Pacific Library and Information Conference, July 31st 2018.