Round table for Danish and Australian LIS professionals

ALIA facilitated a round table meeting for Danish and Australian LIS professionals in Melbourne on 1 December. The event was sponsored by ALIA (admin and catering) and RMIT University (venue).

Report by Fiona Emberton

A contingent of library and allied professionals from Denmark was hosted by ALIA in Melbourne, November 2017, providing a networking opportunity with university and special library representatives from around Australia. The members of the Danish group created the study tour through their employer’s professional development framework and were attracted by Australia’s solid reputation in the libraries sector. Appointed by Kira Stine, head of Copenhagen library, they made up a diagonal slice including administrators, research support specialists, government and Copenhagen university librarians. Here is the link to the Danish delegation biographies

Their aim was to network with Australian special library specialists to garner material and insights for their forthcoming university and special libraries strategic plan.

Key professionals from the Australian special libraries sector gave their time to share experiences and gain insight into contemporary developments in the Danish Royal Library and University, which are currently considering mergers and alliances.

The group took a conversational approach to the breakout sessions that ranged from 'Mergers versus Alliances?' 'Future Skills Requirements and Professional Development', 'Open Access Challenges', 'Library Service to Employees in the Central Administration (public service)' to 'Measuring Library Services’ Outcomes.'

An issue that struck a chord with the Danish team was a key difference in ethos  – where some Australian organisations see their clients as partners rather than providing a traditional service approach. There were of course economic differences also, where some of our institutions are privately owned (universities)  and on top of this Australia has been able to avoid much of the 10-year long downturn/recession experienced elsewhere. The Australian multi-levelled government structure and geographic challenges were additional fundamental differences to the Danish situation. Interestingly, there was a keen interest in ALIA’s approach to CPD, its online packages and that allied professionals can now join ALIA. 

Dr Gill Hallam brought much to the table with her recent work in strategy and research. Other key practitioners gave valuable insights into reviewing and streamlining services both in Australia and elsewhere.

ALIA is keen to support special libraries through events such as these, and through its advisory committee to the ALIA Board.