Following advocacy by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA), a Senate committee report has recommended that the government explore opportunities to work with public libraries in delivering services to diaspora communities.
In June 2020, ALIA and its Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA) submitted a report to the Senate inquiry into Issues facing diaspora communities in Australia. The submission detailed how public libraries work to support new arrivals to Australia, by developing culturally appropriate programs, collections in laguages other than English, and information services that help people settle into their new homes.
Subsequently, ALIA, along with NSLA, the peak body for Australia's national, state and territory libraries, were invited to speak to the Senate committee at a public hearing in October 2020.
'Libraries are becoming much more culturally sensitive to difference and are serving more and more people from diverse linguistic backgrounds,' the committee heard. 'Libraries across the country are now becoming places where everyone knows they can be safe, welcome and treated with respect regardless of their class background, their wealth background or their social background.'
The final report published the following recommendation: The committee recommends that the government explore opportunities for closer collaboration with public libraries in the provision of services to diaspora communities, including consideration of how to better articulate and disseminate positive narratives about diaspora contributions in their local communities.
This follows on from ALIA’s submission and evidence to the Senate inquiry into Nationhood, national identity and democracy, which last month resulted in a recommendation for the government to work with the Australian Media Literacy Alliance, of which ALIA is a founder member, to develop a national media literacy strategy.
The full inquiry report into Issues for diaspora communities in Australia can be read on the Australian Government website.
About the Australian Library and Information Association
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector.
With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au
Contact: Sue McKerracher, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org | 02 6215 8215