Pierre Gorman Award: Guidelines

The Pierre Gorman Award is awarded biennially by the Library Board of Victoria to Victorian public libraries for service development and delivery to people with a disability.

The award was created in 1997 to honour the late Dr Pierre Gorman CBE, in recognition of his distinguished contribution to research and development in library services to benefit people with disabilities.

Applications are now closed for 2014.


The Library Board of Victoria’s responsibilities in relation to public libraries are defined in the Libraries Act 1988. They include responsibilities ‘to oversee cooperation in programs with libraries and information organisations to promote access to library and information resources’ and ‘to exercise leadership and promote high standards in the provision of library and information services’. The Pierre Gorman Award is one way in which the Board both promotes access to library services and encourages high standards in the public library sector.

The Framework for collaborative action, a document endorsed by both the Board and Public Libraries Victoria Network, further defines the way in which the Board, through the State Library of Victoria, partners with the public library network to deliver enhanced library services to Victoria’s communities. The collaboration provides opportunities to advance the goals of:

  • enhanced library collections
  • improved access options
  • ‘seamless’ service/access for users
  • enhanced staff skills
  • increased community and government understanding of and engagement with libraries
  • greater efficiency and effectiveness of library services through collaboration and sharing. 


The award is valued at up to $25,000 and is offered biennially.

Applicants may incorporate additional sources of funding in delivery of their proposed project (e.g. grants from government agencies). Applications should clearly indicate how funds will be disbursed.


The award is open to:

  • Victorian public library services – applications may be from either individual library services or a joint proposal from more than one service; applications proposing partnerships with disability agencies or service providers are encouraged
  • individuals employed in the Victorian public library industry for professional development to cater for the special needs of people with a disability.


A key focus of the award is innovation, particularly in relation to service delivery or development. The award is not intended to support capital purchases or similar infrastructure expenditure; however, it is acknowledged that there may be some expenditure on capital, depending on the nature of the group being serviced and the level of technology required.

Award funds can be used for activities including (but not limited to):

  • developing a new service, program or resource for people with a disability
  • promoting and/or improving services in public libraries for people with a disability
  • fostering skills acquisition and community development outcomes
  • providing professional development for staff to cater for the special needs of people with a disability.

It is anticipated the award will act as ‘seed’ funding for program or service development. Applications should address how the proposed program will be sustained beyond the award period. The recipient will be expected to share the enhanced skills or learning gained through an agreed process of networking with the public library sector and/or allied agencies to maximise the collective benefits of the award. Applications considering partial usage of the award funds will be considered. Applicants who have previously applied unsuccessfully may reapply or resubmit previous applications. Applicants who have been previously successful in applying for the Pierre Gorman Award may reapply after a period of five years.


Applications must be submitted using the award’s application form and must include:

  • a detailed description of proposed activities and deliverables
  • an outline of expected outcomes, including benefits for people with a disability and contribution to library and information service research and/or practice in Victoria
  • an outline of how the project will be sustained beyond the award period
  • an outline of any partnerships to be developed or enhanced through the proposal, with written support from prospective partners
  • a demonstration of the linkages between the proposal and the Framework for collaborative action’s goals, with an emphasis on innovation and increased interaction between librariesand other agencies
  • performance indicators by which the success of the project or program will be evaluated
  • a timeline for implementation of the proposed program
  • clear evidence of operational capacity to implement the program
  • an outline of how the program or services supported by the award will be promoted to potential users or beneficiaries
  • a project budget that includes other funding contributions as applicable
  • a letter of support from the applicant’s library service manager/CEO.

Letters of support

Letters of support are required from two referees chosen by the applicant. These letters should comment on the merits of the project and the capacity of the applicant to undertake it.

Ideally, the letters of support should demonstrate community connections, partnerships and linkages. Where the applicant is an individual, their library service manager/CEO may be a referee.

The letters will be kept confidential and should be mailed directly to the award administrators by the referees.


The successful applicant will be required to sign an agreement (including terms and conditions) that covers reporting timelines, use of copyright materials, plagiarism, acknowledgement, use of social media and research protocols.

Within six months of completion of the program identified in the award proposal, the recipient must forward a brief overview report summarising the outcomes achieved and including an acquittal of funds. This report will be submitted to the Library Board of Victoria’s Advisory Committee on Public Libraries.


Applications will be assessed by a panel comprising representatives of the Library Board of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria, and Public Libraries Victoria Network. Applicants may be asked to provide more information in written form about their proposals. Interviews may be arranged for shortlisted applicants. The Library Board of Victoria reserves the right not to award the funds.

For more information

All inquiries will be treated confidentially and should be directed to Harlinah Teoh on 03 8664 7400 or hteoh@slv.vic.gov.au.