Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Good Shepherd Seminary is a valued tertiary education institution in Banz, Papua New Guinea. Good Shepherd has requested assistance in improving the services offered by the seminary’s library so as to meet the changing demands and expectations of students and staff. This role will involve working with library staff to develop a catalogue of books and other materials available at the library and enhancing administrative processes that contribute to the efficient operation of the day-to-day activities.

The Location

Banz is a town in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea, 1 hour from Mount Hagen. The town has internet access and restaurants, with banks, a post office, swimming pool and hotels nearby. There is a clinic with a nurse onsite. The nearest hospital is in Mount Hagen, along with a chemist and dentist.

A private room with ensuite and shared laundry facilities is provided by the host organisation and is fully furnished. This accommodation features door and window locks, security screens, outdoor lighting and a security guard.

Though this assignment is remote, you will join two other Palms Australia volunteers.

The Challenge

Tertiary education institutions are limited in PNG, and are rarely accessible by remote communities. Good Sheppard Seminary in Banz is a tertiary education dedicated to providing its students, most of whom come from the Highlands in towns such as  Madang, Lae, Wewak and Aitape, with high quality, three-year degree programs. In 2019, the Seminary will see enrolment increase from 57 to 70 students. In response to larger class sizes, the Seminary has identified a need for lecturers to join the staff in both teaching and administrative support.

Good Shepherd has a well-resourced library that is accessible for staff and students and which is managed by a local librarian. While the library has a large volume of stock, a catalogue system is needed to assist staff and students in accessing relevant materials. Creating this catalogue and developing a training strategy for ensuring new stock is correctly catalogued and new staff are familiar with the system, is critical to ensuring the library is able to meet its intended purpose.

About You

Good Shepherd Seminary has requested the assistance of an experienced librarian to work alongside the current librarian in developing a library catalogue. The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Experience in library/archive management, particularly in establishing a new catalogue system
  • Experience with training/mentoring new staff in database systems
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Willingness to work in Banz for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role.

Prior experience in Papua New Guinea is not required for this role but will be an asset.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • providing professional skill development to library staff at Good Shepherd that will enable them to make the best use of existing resources.
  • establishing effective systems for integrating new assets to the library is critical for the sustainability of this project.

It is expected that at the conclusion of your assignment, this role will be continued by the seminary’s librarian, with the support of library patrons.


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ. All applicants will be required to complete a Working with Children and Police Check.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    PLEASE NOTE - Successful applicants must be:
    • available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and cannot sponsor visas to attend this course.
    • a citizen of Australia or New Zealand or an Australian or New Zealand permanent resident residing in Australia. (Australian or New Zealand citizens residing overseas may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
    • willing to complete a Police Check and a Working With Children Check before commencement of an assignment.