We submitted a response to the Australian Government Department of Communications Enhancing Online Safety for Children discussion paper.
On 2 April 2014, ALIA, in conjunction with the Australian Law Library Association, Health Libraries Inc (HLInc) and Health Libraries Australia (ALIA HLA, a national group of the Australian Library and Information Association), released a study which suggests law firms, government departments, associations and other organisations involved with special libraries gain over $5 in return for every $1 they invest in special libraries.
In May, we 'Joined the Dots' to celebrate our biggest Library and Information Week ever! We were thrilled to have nearly half a million children across Australia participate in National Simultaneous Storytime, our biggest year yet! We also launched the reports about the Future of the Profession as well as a new Members only LinkedIn group dedicated to discussing topics relating to the future of the LIS industry. The winners of the 2014 Australia's Favourite Library search were announced.
In June, we partnered with Stay Smart Online Week. ACT Libraries were the lucky library service who had Bajo and Hex attend an event at the Erindale Library about staying smart online.
In July, we wrote an opinion editorial for the Tasmanian newspaper, ‘The Examiner’ which welcomed the news that the Department Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) will retain the department's library service and its staff, following consultation on the proposed closure of the library. The article also called for a commitment to funding libraries for the future. We also joined more than 35 organisations from around the world urging negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to rescind a proposal to extend copyright terms by another 20 years beyond the current mandatory term. And we also issued a media release about our concerns regarding the potential for the outsourcing of departmental libraries in the public service to be outsourced. This followed a story in ‘The Canberra Times’ which speculated that funding cuts and a review of services may be underway.
In August, ALIA, the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) and Public Library Services South Australia (PLS SA), announced that we are working on a proof of concept trial for a ‘buy it now’ button for libraries. The aim is to help library users to purchase books via the library catalogue, benefitting local bookshops and readers. Another highlight was an international award for an ALIA poster, which highlighted the future of the LIS profession. ALIA’s Future of the Profession poster had been on display at the International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) conference, the World Library and Information Congress, which was held in Lyon over the past week.The poster featured some of the conclusions of a major project which ALIA undertook in 2013 to examine the future of the Australian library and information sciences profession.
In September, we issued a media release noting there were mixed results for the LIS sector in the Tasmanian budget. ALIA Vice-President John Shipp completed an interview on ABC Late Night Live regarding the future of libraries. Speaking of the future, ALIA issued a new report on LIS education, skills and employment which noted that there’s a positive outlook for employment prospects for the sector over the next five years, but the job market will remain tight.
In October, we issued a media release regarding copyright. In particular, we were concerned that a second leaked draft of the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will lead to internet censorship. Wikileaks published the updated draft chapter on IP which forms part of the TPP. The TPP is an economic trade agreement that will, if agreed, be a pathway to realising a vision of a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific. The IP chapter includes copyright issues and digital rights. We also wrote a letter to the Tasmanian Minister for Justice voicing our concern about the proposed budget cuts to the Andrew Inglis Clark Law Library in Hobart. And we issued the ALIA LIS Environmental Scan which was an overview of the research currently being conducted into LIS from 2005 to 2013. And we signed a petition voicing our concerns about the Federal Government’s proposed data retention legislation.
In November, we warned the Federal Government’s higher education reforms could make library and information science (LIS) study unaffordable and could impact the future supply of LIS professionals for public libraries; school and university libraries; government, law, business and health information services, and our iconic National, State and Territory Libraries. The 2014-15 Budget introduced a number of measures which reform the higher education sector, moving it to a greater user-pays and market-driven model. If all these reforms go ahead, they will seriously impact LIS students, graduates and the supply of LIS professionals to the workplace.
In December, we urged all Members to support library technician courses offered by TAFE and private training organisations moving from the Cultural Industries to the Business Services training package, rather than see library and information studies merged with entertainment, media and design. An Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) review in 2013 put forward a rationalisation of training packages for Cultural Industries, where the library technician qualification currently sits, alongside Live Performance, Entertainment, Screen and Media, Music, Visual Arts, Craft and Design. Library technician graduates work in a range of libraries and information services including public and state libraries, schools, universities, health, law, research and other information workplaces. While libraries are an important part of the cultural life of a community, having our library technician courses used to give critical mass to smaller arts qualifications isn’t in the best interests of our profession especially with the increasing demand for digital literacy skills from employers. We talked to educators about the options and business or ICT was felt to be a better fit. The move will put us in the business services grouping, comprising courses that include record keeping, customer contact, marketing, digital and other skills which align with information management tasks.