resources. Without taking the merit of a good number of staff members who work hard and 
do their best to deliver; one cannot overlook the lack of professional staff employed with our 
public libraries. In this day and age, how can some call themselves librarians when they 
cannot even use generally accepted tools such as email and chats, let alone effectively browse 
for internet resources? I am aware that this statement may sound harsh and somewhat 
unsuitable but one cannot ignore this reality in the present situation of our public libraries. 
However, one should not stop there; the Malta Libraries is there to help and 
encourage library staff to undergo further training to abide by today's information 
requirements. Last year, Malta Libraries motivated staff to follow the Diploma course on 
Library and Information Science by offering a flexible working environment. Additionally, 
with the setting up again of our former ICT Support Unit, we are already providing in-house 
informative sessions to our staff members. The training will ensure that proper procedures are 
in place with regards to the computerised circulation of library material in accordance to the 
established Library Lending Regulations. All this is being performed in tandem with the 
Malta Libraries plans to migrate the current Library Information System to a more user-centric 
system which will embrace the major enhancements available in contemporary 
Library Systems as well as to incorporate a number of catalogue enrichment solutions. 
Another problem concerning human resources is quite frankly the deficiency of it. To 
keep the ball rolling in all the public libraries is definitely not an easy task considering the 
small number of staff members presently available. 
Malta Libraries has been liaising with ETC on the provision of suitable individuals 
willing to undertake work experience at the Public Libraries. Additionally, we accommodated 
a number of volunteers through MCAST, Junior College, Foreign Language Schools and 
ERASMUS programs. 
Further significant challenges include funding and quality standards. The Public 
Libraries Fund is divided between all the 43 public libraries in Malta. This is hindering any 
substantial improvement in any of them. Consequently, this year’s funds are going to be 
allocated according to performance. However, we still try to move forward and consider 
other ways to acquire alternative funding. For instance, other funding may be collected from 
fundraising activities, the vending of weeded out or even donated books which the library 
might already have multiple copies of, and by encouraging the donation of appropriate library 
material. Moreover, one may also lobby with authors, publishers, or maybe other 
organisations for sponsorships. 
Coming back to the previously mentioned weakness, specifically to contemporary 
library standards, one can identify two main concerns here being the libraries physical 
standards and the current services standards. Unfortunately, most of the Regional and Branch 
Libraries were set up without ever considering adequate space and accessibility standards. 
Last year, MaLIA presented a set of guidelines regarding the appropriate physical standards 
which are now being consulted before setting up new libraries. Malta Libraries is also offering 
support to the existing libraries to exploit the restricted library space in the best way 
possible. For instance, all public libraries were presented with a set of guidelines on weeding 
techniques in order to create room for new material. 
Additionally, Malta Libraries has been exploring the possible funding for 
refurbishments through the Ministry as well as through the European Union Structural Fund. 
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