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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 979 ..

Libraries also celebrate key days on the calendar, like International Mother Language Day and Harmony Day. Indeed, I recently attended the launch of 2018 Neighbour Day, which is coming up this Sunday, 25 March at Gungahlin Library. It was wonderful to see the students from Gungahlin College so at home in the public library space. And it was also wonderful to hear about the place of Gungahlin Library in the broader community, including a story that was shared by one of the librarians about an older man in the community who wrote a number of times to the library manager before he passed away expressing his thanks to Gungahlin Library and the staff there for providing him a place where he could connect with the community, somewhere he could come every day and feel part of his broader community. I think that echoes what Ms Lawder said about libraries being a place that truly embody social inclusion and community connection.

I thank Ms Lawder again for the opportunity to highlight the wonderful work of our libraries and particularly the work they do with children and young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and multicultural communities across our city.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.06): Libraries are an important fixture in any community; however, they hold a special place in our schools. Libraries can be a portal to another world, a world where dragons guard gold, where gallant kings and queens fight evil warlords, where marvellous mechanical inventions can send you back in time or to another planet. It is where students study for school projects and for school exams. Just as much as it is an escape into a world of fiction, it is an avenue of facts and figures of history and science. It is where students can access the news and access technology to learn new skills and new information. It is a place of focus. It is a place of escape. It is a place of knowledge.

Only yesterday I spoke about my visit to St Bede’s Primary School and getting the chance to walk through their terrific library. It is a small library given the small size of the school, but it is so much more than a room full of books. There is a quite space filled with comfortable cushions and blankets where students who feel overwhelmed or exhausted or just need some time out can come and be alone. While at St Bede’s I was also able to chat with Elizabeth and Jenny, two library teachers present that day, who were discussing the best way to teach children about cyber security.

Teacher librarians play a vital role in educating our children and young people. As libraries evolve to become more than just a place to borrow books, the role of teacher librarians has become so much more than just to help students with specific research tasks. Like Elizabeth and Jenny at St Bede’s, teacher librarians are critical when it comes to teaching our children about cyber safety.

Cyber safety education is vital in today’s modern world where we are never far from our phones and feel cut off without a wi-fi signal. Every parent has the right to know that their children are safe when they are at school, and being cyber safe is no different. It is vital for our children and young people to get an early education in safety around computers, whether that be from computer viruses, cyber bullying or other dark and negative influences which may be coming through their computers, such as child grooming.

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