Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (897.88 kB)

Multilingualism in the public library: an exploration of the collections of five Sydney libraries

Download (897.88 kB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 18:31 authored by Warnakulasuriya Melanie Thamara Fernando
Australia is home to migrants form diverse ethnolinguistic backgrounds and, according to the 2016 Census data, 22.2% of the population speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home. Public libraries provide a range of language-focussed services to Australia's residents, yet, not much is known about multilingual library service provisions and how public libraries meet the language needs of linguistically diverse communities. This MRes thesis is designed to make a contribution by examining the linguistic profile of the collections of five public libraries in the Sydney metropolitan area. The linguistic profile of the selected libraries is then discussed against the demographic profile of the suburbs they serve. Findings show that the proportion of library resources available in LOTEs in each library is significantly lower than the proportion of residents who speak a LOTE at home. Among the LOTEs present in the library collections, Chinese predominates, even in suburbs where residents speaking other LOTEs predominate. These results have policy implications for home language maintenance in linguistically diverse communities.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Linguistic profiles of the library collections -- 5. Collection and community linguistic profiles -- 6. Comparison between libraries -- 7. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 71-76 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Ingrid Piller


Copyright Warnakulasuriya Melanie Thamara Fernando 2019 Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (92 pages)

Former Identifiers