ALIA sent a letter of support to political prisoner Natalya Sharina, Director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow. She was arrested and placed under house arrest in October 2015 after being accused of inciting hatred or animosity towards a social group by allegedly holding banned books in the Library. In April 2016, she was also charged with misappropriating library funds and her house arrest was subsequently extended. ALIA agreed with IFLA that the treatment of the Library of Ukrainian Literature, and its staff – and in particular Natalya Sharina - was completely disproportionate and unnecessary, and an attack on libraries and librarians. On 5 June, her case was concluded. She was convicted of extremism and embezzlement, and was given a four-year suspended sentence.
Relevance 2020 LIS Research in Australia
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), in partnership with Charles Sturt University, issued a report which provides the results of six Library and Information Science (LIS) research events in Australian capitals in late 2016 that had the main purpose of connecting academics, researchers and practitioners in order to help align future research projects and activities in the Australian LIS profession. There were 172 participants from LIS schools, academic, special, TAFE, school, public and state libraries. Download the report (pdf): Relevance 2020 LIS Research in Australia
Support of access to Australia's research
ALIA supported a statement organised by the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) on access to Australian research. More information
Cost of copyright compliance tool kit
ALIA distributed this toolkit developed by the The National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) which helps calculate the costs associated with undertaking copyright compliance in NSLA libraries, in order to build a strategic case for copyright reform.
ALIA submission to the Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap
The Australian Government commissioned the development of the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap to identify Australia’s national research infrastructure priority areas for the coming decade. ALIA made the following points:
- Platforms for HASS - pleased to see National Library of Australia’s Trove identified, with others, as an existing national research infrastructure asset;
- Explicit reference to the role of library and information professionals in making data more accessible and discoverable for science and humanities researchers, and we reiterate this request for consideration for the final version of the Roadmap;
- Representation on a National Advisory Group -If a Research Infrastructure National Advisory Group were to be formed, ALIA urges the Government to include a representative from the library and information sector in order to take full advantage of the knowledge and skills of the professionals we represent.
- Access - it would be helpful for the Roadmap to include a statement, perhaps as one of the National Research Infrastructure Principles. For example: 'Access guidelines should ensure that there are as few barriers as possible to accessing major infrastructure for those undertaking meritorious research and that the data generated using Government-funded facilities are made open access.'
ALIA wrote to parties running in the WA election about their stance regarding investment in STEM and the State Library of WA. WA Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren replied:
The Greens recognise the vital role libraries and other cultural institutions play in our society ... As the world changes, and is changed by technology, libraries are well-placed to offer local communities access to the latest information and skills development.
The Greens advocate for a greater recognition of the role local government plays in the development of arts and culture, and the development of the WA public libraries STEM proposal supports this. We believe that all spheres of government are responsible for the provision of appropriate facilities and that the support from State Government is vital. This proposal also fits in with our Greens ambition to have an integrated approach to arts and cultural policies, and programs that encourage cross-portfolio awareness of their broad social and economic activity.
The State Library is the flagship repository of our written, social and recorded heritage, preserving these treasures for future generations, as well as being a centre for learning, enterprise and recreation. We support an increase to the funding and promotion of all public libraries as centres of community interactions across the state.
As the Greens spokesperson for the Arts I look forward to continuing to advocate and negotiate for a better deal for WA artists, arts organisations, and important institutions such as the SLWA.
Sustainable Development Goals
On 23 March, ALIA hosted a meeting of Professions Australia at ALIA House for association heads to learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was tabled in Parliament on 22 March 2017 and it included a number of important and overdue amendments that would dramatically free up how Australians can access and use copyright material. ALIA was delighted that Members' efforts to lobby for copyright reform had paid dividends.
From July to August 2015, FAIR ran a campaign called Cooking for Copyright which raised awareness of of our muddled copyright law. Back then, FAIR published 35 handwritten recipes on the website – effectively contravening the current copyright law – and we asked ALIA Members, FAIR supporters and Australians to cook one of these recipes – or choose an old favourite – and to post a photo to facebook or tweet with the #cookingforcopyright hashtag. Within two weeks of the launch, the campaign was trending #1 on Twitter with more than 1 500 tweets and 9,973,809 Twitter impressions.
International LIS think tank
ALIA held a think tank on LIS international affairs at ALIA House in Canberra. The objective of the think tank was to:
identify ALIA’s leadership role in terms of Australia’s strategic international relations and activities;
- propose an agenda for ALIA’s international engagement, contribution and participation on an ongoing basis and over the next 2-5 years; and
- identify priorities for action and mechanisms for implementation.
Participants included ALIA President Patricia Genat, Gill Hallam, Philip Hider, IFLA President-elect Christine Mackenzie, ALIA President-elect Vicki McDonald, ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher, Roxanne Missingham, ALIA Board Member Marian Morgan-Bindon, Jennefer Nicholson, Mike Robinson and Eve Woodberry. Discussion included how libraries can be key institutions to help achieve the framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) that span economic, environmental and social development.
Sustainable Development Goals and the ALIA Constitution
ALIA asked Members to add 'environment' to the first Object of the ALIA Constitition. The ALIA Board also proposed the inclusion of an additional Object to the Constitution:
(f) To endorse the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights- Article 19 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in response to the many challenges faced by the world today and into the future.
The ALIA Board asked Members to support adding the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights to the heart of our constitution. Both changes were endorsed by Members at the Annual General Meeting in May.
Health information workforce
Five peak Australian health information professional bodies, including ALIA Health Libraries Australia, collaborated on a blueprint for action to prevent workforce shortages in critical health areas. The group represents thousands of health information managers, health informaticians and others handling and managing health system information and patient data. It says without urgent action to attract, retain and guide the health information professions, Australia will not have the required configuration in the workforce and - more critically- will experience shortages impacting the success of future digital health implementations. Read more
Cooking for Copyright
On 15 June 2017, The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was passed in Parliament. As a result millions of historical manuscripts - from celebrity letters and diaries held by the National, State and Territory libraries and archives, to the thousands of theses at our universities - will be simultaneously freed into the public domain on 1 January 2019.
A celebration Cooking for Copyright event took place on 31 July - to mark the two-year anniversary since librarians around the country took part in this act of civil disobedience.
IFLA global vision
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) promoted a global discussion about how libraries can meet the challenges of the future, with six workshops around the world. (ALIA was represented at the meeting in Singapore in June 2017.) ALIA ran a survey in July to collate the views of people in the Australian library sector so that our national perspective could be fed into the discussion. Find out more from the IFLA Global Vision discussion website.
IFLA, in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington (TASCHA), launched the first Development and Access to Information (DA2I) Report at The New York Public Library, during the United Nations High Level Political Forum. ALIA's contributions were mentioned, read more.
Australian Reading Hour
The Australian Reading Hour (14 September, 2017) is an important annual campaign encouraging Australians of all ages to read. The premise is simple – pick up a book at any time of the day or night and read for an hour. The 2017 campaign was even bigger and better, building on the success of previous years. Run by ALIA’s Australian Public Library Alliance between 2012 and 2016; 2017’s Australian Reading Hour was supported by the Australian Library and Information Association, the Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. Read the campaign overview.
Library Technician recognition
In 2015, at the request of a Director in the Therapeutic Goods Administration who was looking to recruit a Library Technician, we approached the Australian Public Service (APS) to include Library Technician in the APS Job Family Model. We followed up in 2016 and when the new APS model was published in September 2017, Library Technician was a named category.
ALIA 80 Celebrations
ALIA celebrated its 80th anniversary throughout the year, and with a celebration at ALIA House in October.
Digital Economy: Opening the Conversation
ALIA made a submission to this federal government initiative and produced a report Australian libraries: the digital economy within everyone's reach covering digital inclusion, digital literacy, cybersafety, library transformation and the need for copyright reform to remove barriers for digital innovation.
During 2017, we produced handouts and posters for public, school, special libraries and the health sector based on 10 ways these libraries and the professionals who work in them, make a significant contribution to their communities.