When you imagine a library, you might envision books, encyclopedias, magazines, and maybe even DVDs. But what about dolls and toy kitchen tools?
Recently, the Catalyst Koha team had the pleasure of visiting the fka Children's Services (fkaCS) Multicultural Resource Centre (MRC), a Koha library based in Melbourne, Australia. fkaCS was established to ensure Victorian early education and care services have access to resources that support the provision of culturally respectful service delivery and curriculum design, in line with the Education and Care National Quality Framework.
Koha has been the chosen library system for fkaCS since at least 2014. Victoria De Paoli, Program Support Officer at fkaCS, says Koha has been fantastic for streamlining their library management systems and most importantly, improving accessibility for our members across Victoria. "Having this automated system means members can now browse and borrow online, and we can easily track items in our large collection of over 1,000 multicultural resources and bilingual books."
As a team of early years professionals, fkaCS know that when children, families, community members and colleagues arrive at early education and care services, the environment sends messages, including what and who they value as a learning community. When those participating can see, hear and sense their identity being valued in the environment, a growing sense of welcoming and belonging is established. Allowing educators to have access to a variety of culturally and linguistically diverse resources in the MRC supports feelings of identity, well-being and belonging for all children and families. It also ensures services are able to adapt their environment to meet the needs of their community as it evolves over time.
The fkaCS collection includes bilingual books in over 70 languages, multicultural dramatic play items such as cookware, musical instruments, puppets and dolls. They have an English collection featuring books on a variety of topics, i.e., relationships, diversity, recreation, emotional well-being. They also have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, which is gradually expanding. In recent years they introduced a variety of Literacy Kits, Story Bags and Audio Story Bags which include popular stories in language and educator notes.
Koha was first provided to fkaCS by Calyx Information Essentials, and is now provided by Catalyst IT since the acquisition of Calyx in 2020. Victoria warmly shared that they have thoroughly enjoyed learning from and working with the Catalyst Koha team: