Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA)

Prior to the formation of FOLA, a Friends Sub-Committee of the Library Promotion Committee of Victoria (LPCV) was established in 1987 by Daniel Ferguson. Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA) was officially launched on the 9th of December 1994 by Justice Michael Kirby AC, SMG at the State Library of Victoria. On that occasion Daniel Ferguson, newly appointed Executive Officer, outlined the aims of FOLA as follows:

  1. To encourage and assist the formation and development of Friends of Libraries groups in Australia;
  2. To promote the development of excellent libraries services for all Australians;
  3. To provide a representative voice for Friends of Library groups;
  4. To promote public awareness of the existence of Library groups and the services and support they provide.

Since then FOLA has indefatigably pursued its objectives and through good and not so good times has remained consistent to its ideals, has constructively adapted to social changes, and has also embraced innovation.

Please download and read the reports tabled at the AGM 2021 by FOLA’s President Jack Goodman and by Executive Director, Daniel Ferguson, because they eloquently illustrate and highlight the latest development in the life of our organization.
You may not have realised it but as Friends of Balmain Library all of you are valued members of the larger family the Friends of Libraries Australia.

If you are interested to pursue the FOLA initiative and to hold a backyard cricket match to raise funds for our own library or for rural libraries, please contact us. Equally if you would like to join the FOBL committee we would be very happy. Please email me at .



  1. I was so saddened at Ashfield library yesterday to be told 1. That unwanted library books are no longer sold to the public.
    2 they are no longer sent to regional libraries
    3. No answer as to where they are disposed of.
    I would like more info please … and a good solution. Maybe FoL can help.

    1. Dear Julie,

      Thank you for your message and for letting us know about this matter. It seems like a travesty given that rural libraries are under-funded and struggling.
      We are going to pursue this with the Inner West Libraries (of which Ashfield is a member) to find out what the Inner West libraries policy is with regard to unwanted library books, ie those no longer in the library’s catalogue). We will get back to you as soon as they reply to us and let you know.
      Best wishes,

      Fiona Mitchell
      Chair, FOBL on behalf of the FOBL Committee

    2. Dear Julie,
      I have been in touch with the Inner West Libraries and this is what they replied in relation to your comments: Thank you for sharing community member’s concern with us. I hope this brings you some satisfaction. If not, I suggest that you get in touch with us at FOBL and with Caroline McCleod. Please let us know if we can be of further help.
      Best wishes,
      Fiona Mitchell
      Chair, Friends of Balmain Library
      on behalf of the committee

      Disposal of library materials is influenced by the Inner West Council Library & History Services’ Collection Development Policy. The library has developed various sustainable methods for dealing with weeded items, such as:

      · Giving back the items to suppliers who then deal with them in a sustainable way.
      · Donating to Aged Care facilities, community centres.
      · Sending our Book Club materials to interested regional libraries.
      · Donating to Street Libraries.
      · Tie up with recycling companies that handle material in an ethical and environmentally sustainable manner. Paper Resource, a Sydney based sustainability provider collects and recycles all our weeded books.
      · Old magazines are sent to local artists for utilisation in their creative work.

      We are always on the lookout for any new sustainable methods of disposal of discarded items. For example, DVD and CD covers are recycled in the blue bins and cases are recycled by Inner West Council recycling service. Unwanted discs are recycled via Officeworks.

      The Library has discontinued book sales as we for a number of reasons including that we have very limited storage space to keep the weeded items and no longer accept cash.

      Please contact me if you have any further questions regarding this.

      Caroline McLeod​​​​
      ​Senior Manager, Libraries and Community Facilities

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