2020 campaigns



  • ALIA released a statement in response to the 2019 bushfires which featured information on how ALIA Members could assist those affected by the bushfires. ALIA also created the page How you can help: bushfire recovery
  • ALIA released a message of support for Drag Queen Storytimes following a protest at a Brisbane public library. Additionally, ALIA sought images from libraries across Australia to highlight to demostrate our support of Drag Queen Storytimes. The collage of images can be seen below:

  • On 29 January 2020, ALIA released the sixth annual ALIA LIS Education, Skills and Employment Trend Report. The 2019 edition reveals a 10-year decline in the number of institutions accredited by ALIA, from 31 in 2010 to 23 in 2020 (predicted), and in the number of LIS courses offered, down from 50 in 2010 to 34 in 2020 (predicted).
  • ALIA launched a new resource for our special library members – the ALIA Special Libraries Directory. The directory will be updated as new information is received. 
  • ALIA President Robert Knight OAM, chose leadership as the theme for his presidential year. As a part of this, ALIA investigated where the sector is performing well, and where there is room for improvement. These survey results were compiled in the NextGen Leadership Scorecard Survey Findings report. It provides the basis for further discussions at our ALIA Leadership & Innovation Forums in early 2020.
  • ALIA extended its offer of support to its USA counterparts following news on a proposed bill in Missouri, US, which would bar libraries from stocking certain books with legal consequences for library staff who refuse to comply. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has released a statement protesting this bill.
  • In 2019, ALIA along with the ALIA Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA) and ALIA Health Libraries Australia secured $1 million in funding for libraries from the Australian Digital Health Agency to run train the trainer programs. These started on 3 February 2020 at the following NSW public libraries: Sutherland Shire Library; Maroubra Library; Penrith Library; Northern Beaches Library; and Campbelltown Library.


  • (ALIA) Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) received final endorsement from Reconciliation Australia. The development of the RAP began during 2018-2019 as part of then-President Lyndall Ley’s focus on Indigenous matters, with an ALIA House team supported by Rebecca Bateman, Indigenous Curator at the National Library of Australia, representing ALIA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN) Group.  The ALIA Reflect RAP has been included in the ALIA Library, accessible from the ALIA website. It features The Rainbow Serpent bark painting by Bobby Barrdjaray Nganjmirra, which was purchased by the Library Association of Australia to commemorate its Darwin conference in 1986.  
  • ALIA APLA partnered with News Corp newspaper titles to promote library storytimes as part of the Raise a Reader campaign, including free posters
  • ALIA supported and promoted Safer Internet Day 2020. The theme for the day was 'together for a better internet'.  
  • ALIA suppported World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2020, promoted the day's free resources, bookmarks and posters



  • ALIA called for responses to its inaugural Salary and Workplace survey
  • ALIA hosted its ACT Leadership & Innovation Forum, most of the forums were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • ALIA joined the EveryAge Counts coalition. The coalition aims to tackle ageism faced by older Australian through a grassroots campaign. 
  • The ALIA National Conference, which was due to take place 4 to 8 May 2020, was cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
  • Books Create Australia, the collaboration between the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) announced a special arrangement for public library storytimes during the COVID-19 outbreak.  
  • From 20 March until 29 May the ALIA Board released weekly Friday messages to ALIA Members.
  • ALIA released a special edition of PD Postings to more than 10,500 subscribers, full of free learning activities to keep library and information professionals up-to-date and on top of their game during the pandemic. Normally PD Postings is an ALIA Member benefit, but this issue is free to read for everyone.
  • ALIA worked with the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section to develop translated signage and text to support libraries communicating with their linguistically diverse communities, particularly in relation to library closures and accessing online information.


  • The ALIA Board set up a Relief Fund, specifically to help Members who experienced a reduction in income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ALIA seeded the fund with $10,000 and welcomed contributions from Members. There was also an option for Members who were renewing their membership to add a donation to the fund at the same time. 
  • ALIA created the webpage ALIA Connects which was full of ideas and suggested activities for GLAMR professionals. 
  • ALIA, alongside more than 30 other cultural institutions and organisations, cosigned a creative industry COVID-19 stimulus letter addressed to the Hon Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister and the Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Regional Development. The letter called for a targeted stimulus package to the value of 2% of the $111.7 billion industry as well as a public statement recognising the value of the creative industry to all Australians. 
  • ALIA Health Libraries Australia (ALIA HLA) Executive made a statement of support to health librarians and health library workers. ALIA HLA also worked with ALIA on the COVID-19 Live Literature Searches webpage and the COVID-19 key resources page
  • ALIA's Institutional Members indicated an increased need for Professional Development opportunities, as staff duties were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, ALIA prepared a special package of three archived issues of PD Postings, the 24 March edition, and issues for April, May and June. 
  • Following on from a copyright agreement negotiated by ALIA, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the National Copyright Unit announced a new copyright agreement for schools. This agreement allowed schools to host virtual storytimes for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • ALIA encouraged library patrons to read at home during the COVID-19 pandemic through the #AustraliaReadsAtHome campaign.  
  • ALIA created a series of free downloadable jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles included Library and Information Week 2020; ALIA Connects; ALIA Members 1937; and ALIA Members 2017.
  • The ALIA Interlibrary Lending Committee (ALIA ILAC) recommended checking the Libraries Australia website to stay up to date on with which libraries are still offering interlibrary loans. Following the review of the Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code, a new fee structure has come into effect from 1 April 2020.  
  • ALIA promoted Information Awareness Month, of which ALIA is a founder organiser.  
  • Library podcast, Library Pros, featured Rob Thomson ALIATec (CP) ALIA NSW State Manager across three episodes on COVID-19.  
  • ALIA launched the webpages ‘Supporting Australian authors through COVID-19’ and ‘Online author events’, which featured creators who were able to deliver their talks, workshops and other programs online for library users.
  • ALIA announced that its free to access ALIA Library, has more than 1,000 catalogued collection items. Formerly known as READ ALIA, the library contains conference papers, reports, surveys, standards, guidelines and other information produced by the Association to support the work of library and information professionals in Australia and around the world. 
  • ALIA supported the annual May Day campaign, run by Blue Shield Australia. The day promotes disaster planning and awareness amongst archives, libraries, museums, galleries, heritage places, historical societies, local history groups and other cultural heritage organisations during the month of May. 


  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australia Reads main event, the Australian Reading Hour, was rescheduled to 12 November. Additionally, the campaign was granted $100,000 from the Australian Government, following an application by ALIA for increased funding ($50,000 in 2019). The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts said the Government is pleased to support this initiative, which promotes the value and importance of books. ALIA is a founder organiser of this initiative, you can learn more on the website.
  • ALIA, with input from the ALIA Australian Public Library Alliance, monitored the impact of COVID-19 on Australian public libraries since early March and created an interim report summarising feedback more than 200 libraries. Also ALIA created a strategic checklist to support the library reopening process, including information on staff support, services that need to be phased in (or out), communications planning, and safety precautions.
  • ALIA sought applications for both mentors and mentees for its Mentoring Scheme.  
  • ALIA launched a campaign toolkit to support libraries, entitled ‘We’re back! Tell us how you missed us.’ This campaign provided graphics and other collateral for libraries to download from the ALIA website. There are two toolkits: one for public libraries, which also links to a public survey, and one for other libraries
  • ALIA celebrated Library and Information Week 2020 and National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). NSS 2020 included the following guest readers: the book’s author Lucinda Gifford, who streamed her reading from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne; Ursula Dubosarsky, Australian Children's Laureate 2020-2021; Governor-General Sir David Hurley and Lady Hurley; the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts; the Hon Michelle Landry MP; and Justin O'Neill from the Northern Queensland Cowboys. For the first time ever the ABC's Playschool joined in on the fun, with Denise Scott reading Whitney and Britney on ABC Kids. Story Box Library has also featured two NSS 2020 experiences on its website featuring Astrid Kriening AALIA, from Oberon Library and Michelle Nye from Hillcrest College.
  • The ALIA Special Libraries Working Group created the 2nd edition of the Special Libraries Directory. This directory is an update of the 2019 edition, and is not a comprehensive listing, but it does identify like-minded individuals working in similar situations. The aim is to enable people to share non-competitive information, insight, expertise, ideas and resources; to improve the sense of connectedness in a sector with many one-person libraries, and to strengthen special libraries’ advocacy network.
  • During National Volunteer Week 2020, the ALIA Board of Directors thanked everyone who volunteered across the Association and for the library and information science profession.  
  • ALIA worked with Civica to determine the most borrowed books in Australian public libraries.  Sue McKerracher, ALIA CEO was interviewed regarding the popularity of library books and the list was featured in the Australian Financial Review, The Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and WA Today
  • ALIA  published its guidance on record keeping for contact tracing during COVID-19.
  • ALIA celebrated and promoted National Reconciliation Week.





  • ALIA partnered with Speech Pathology Australia to support its campaign 'Speechie Library Talks'. 
  • ALIA published a supplementary statement about casual work in the library and information sectorv in Australia. The statement provides details on ALIA's previous statements on the topic, and our current position. 'Casual library staff provide crucial support to their patrons and the community and they should be compensated accordingly, with secure working conditions'.
  • For Library Lovers’ Day 2021, ALIA is encouraging people to ‘make a date’ with their library to rediscover all the great things on offer. If people have fallen out of the habit of using their library service, it's time to tempt them back. Whether that be virtual or in-person - with safe physical distancing measures where needed.
  • As a founder member of Blue Shield Australia, ALIA promoted planning and preparation for the upcoming disaster season, using the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October to focus attention. Additionally, ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher was featured in an article in the Australian Museums and Galleries Association MaG Vol 28(2) Winter 2020. The article 'Hope for the best, plan for the worst’ can be read through pages 14–17.
  • The September/October issue of INCITE was released. The issue was full of great articles including the free to read story, 'Culturally safe libraries'. The article provides details about National and State Libraries Australia's major project to make libraries more culturally safe for staff and patrons.
  • ALIA, the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors made an industry agreement at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, which gave public libraries in Australia assurance that they could livestream and record storytimes using children’s picture books for the period of the WHO-declared pandemic without being called out for breach of copyright. The industry agreement was extended until 31 December 2020, meaning that it continued to be the policy of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors that its members allow libraries to conduct virtual storytimes without any need for specific permission or payment. However, some publishers restricted their participation to livestreamed storytimes only, and others introduced reporting requirements.  
  • Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we re-imagined ALIA Information Online 2021 as a virtual conference, to ensure that as many attendees can participate as possible in light of the ongoing border and travel restrictions. The conference went ahead on Monday 8 February 2021, as a one-day, fully virtual conference with the usual high-standard speakers, networking opportunities and a new virtual exhibition. 
  • ALIA once again supported the Chief Scientist's Storytime Pledge.
  • More than 500 people tuned into the #AustraliaReads Roadshow on 16 September. The roadshow featured presentations from indie publishers including Magabala Books, Affirm Press and Black Inc. You can catch up on YouTube. ALIA is a founder organiser of the Australia Reads campaign.
  • The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts announced that Australia's national cultural institutions will receive an additional $22.9 million in the Federal Budget, including $5.4 million for the National Library of Australia.


  • Dr Huan Vo-Tran AALIA, was awarded the 2020 ALIA Research Grant Award, valued at $5,000, for his research: The role of information and digital literacy programs in support of newly settled refugees – an Australian public library approach.
  • ALIA worked with ABC Education to create the virtual event 'Media Literacy 101 for Libraries'. 
  • ALIA encouraged GLAMR institutions to prepare for the 2020/21 disaster season.
  • The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) welcomed the allocation of $22.9 million in additional funds to support Australia’s national cultural institutions. ALIA is a founder member of the ALCC.
  • ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher, alongside Dr John Vallance State Librarian and CEO, State Library of New South Wales, represented National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA) and ALIA at the Senate Inquiry into Issues facing diaspora communities in Australia. They spoke about the importance of libraries supporting migrant and refugee communities. Read their submission across pages 9-10 of the Hansard report. ALIA was also invited to give evidence at the Senate Inquiry into Nationhood in November
  • The Australian Media Literacy Alliance, of which ALIA is a founder member, partnered with ABC Education and other organisations to promote the importance of Media Literacy Week which ran from 24-31 October. ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher was quoted in the news release saying 'If ever there has been a time for promoting authentic, accurate, timely information over fake news and misinformation, it is now – during a global pandemic. We very much welcome this leadership from the ABC. Media Literacy Week gives us a focus for our awareness-raising work and valuable content to share with our audiences'
  • ALIA's Children's and Youth Services Group hosted the annual Nancy Booker Honour Lecture. The lecture featured Coralie Kouvelas, Reading Coordinator at Whittlesea Library in VIC as well as authors Peter Carnavas and Helena Fox. 
  • Rebecca Muir and Mary Coe are the recipients of the ALIA Twila Ann Janssen Herr Award for 2020. They received the $5,000 grant for their project ‘What does it mean to include people with invisible disabilities as research participants?’. The project aims to critically reflect on their experience in including people with an invisible disability as library and information science research participants.
  • Representatives from ALIA attended the presentation of the Australian digital inclusion index 2020. Some of the major findings from the report were that there are subsections of society who continue to have a lack of access to digital resources and have reduced digital skills; and that digital inclusion is increasing in Australia, but the rate of increase is slowing. ALIA will continue to advocate for funding to continue digital inclusion activities in libraries.
  • Applications were opened for the ALIA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Scholarship. ALIA and Charles Sturt University offer a scholarship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander students planning a career in library and information science commencing full time or part time study at CSU leading to ALIA Associate membership. Applications closed 8 February 2021.


  • ALIA and educators of library and information science (LIS) co-signed a joint communique stating their ongoing commitment to deliver accredited LIS courses at their universities. You can read the full communique on the ALIA website.
  • The National Early Language and Literacy Strategy Coalition (NELLC), of which ALIA is a founder member released a discussion paper which outlines the objectives and priorities of a national early language and literacy strategy. ALIA encouraged public libraries across Australia to provide their feedback to advocacy@alia.org.au.
  • The timeframe for the Digital Health Literacy online free training was extended until 31 March 2021. This nationwide initiative provided training to library staff on how users can navigate and understand the new Federal Government digital health initiatives, such as My Health Record and assists libraries to better support their communities, and engage with other likeminded organisations
  • Nicole Johnston’s research article, ‘Living in the World of Fake News: High School Students’ Evaluation of Information from Social Media Sites’ has been made freely available to read from JALIA. Nicole was the recipient of the 2018 ALIA Research Grant, which supported the research described in this article.
  • ALIA’s Special Libraries Working Group and AGLIN (the Australian Government Library Information Network) were keen to focus on turning what special libraries have learned from COVID-19 to their advantage and leveraging those learnings to advocate for libraries. Special library guest speakers David Church and Rolf Schafer shared their lessons and learnings from COVID-19, then participated in a lively Q&A session hosted by ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher.  
  • Libraries across Australia celebrated NAIDOC Week, which ran from 8-15 November. The State Library of NSW is hosted a series of activities; the State Library Victoria has published its story talk with Boori Monty Pryor; and Yarra Libraries, partnered with Aboriginal Housing Victoria to deliver a series of creative and cultural events. The Indigenous Literacy FoundationAIATSISSBS Newsand TimeOut have all released resources for the week.
  • ALIA celebrated Australia Reads and encouraged libraries to take part in the Australian Reading Hour. The campaign has been covered by SCIS; the Daily Telegraph; the Herald SunTransLinkThe ProjectThe Sydney Morning HeraldMirage Newsand Stockland.
  • Former Executive Officer, Australian Digital Alliance, Trish Hepworth will joined the ALIA team on 7 December as Director of Policy and Education, leading ALIA’s major new 4-year initiative emerging from recent investigations into the Future of LIS Education. Read the full news release on the ALIA website.
  • In the most recent issue of ACCESSthe Journal of the Australian School Library Association, ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher, discusses the Australian Media Literacy Alliance's (AMLA) approach to creating media literate Australians.
  • On Thursday 5 November, INCITE Editor Andrew Finegan spoke with Maeva Masterson and Aimee Hay from the Library and Archives NT in the first ‘INCITE in conversation’ online session. They discussed the recent Territory-wide public library project, reviewing the diversity in children’s collections. This project was also the subject of their article ‘Reflecting who we are’, published in the November/December issue of INCITE. If you missed the session, you can watch the recording on YouTube.
  • Representatives from ALIA, National and State Libraries Australia, and the National Archives of Australia all spoke before the Senate inquiry into Nationhood, national identity and democracy. These organisations argued for a national policy strategy for media literacy, and their presentations were featured in a recent Canberra Times article. ALIA will continue to advocate as part of the Australian Media Literacy Alliance for a national policy.
  • Nominations were opened for the ALIA Board Election 2021. Nominations were sought for the following positions: President, and two general Board members. All personal financial Members of the Association were eligible to nominate for the Board. The deadline for nominations was 29 January 2021.
  • The Productivity Commission's report into mental health was released and Volume II of the extensive findings mentions public libraries and ALIA's submission to the inquiry, across pages 387, 389 and 340. Additionally, six of the report's recommendations overlap with the work that both ALIA and libraries undertake.
  • Thousands of people across Australia took part in the Australia Reads campaign. It received support from publications and organisations including: SCISDaily Telegraph; the Herald SunTransLinkThe ProjectThe Sydney Morning HeraldMirage NewsKidsNews; and StocklandFurthermorethe campaign and ALIA Graphic Novels and Comics, were featured in The West Australian article 'Pause and pick up a book'. If you missed the official Australia Reads webinars, you can watch all three through the Australia Reads YouTube channel. More than 10,000 kids registered for the virtual events and more than 50 schools.
  • ALIA Schools, alongside the Australian School Library Association and the Students Need School Libraries campaign, contributed to a report which recommended an increase in qualified teacher librarians in Australian schools. The full report can be found on the ALIA website. You can also read The Sydney Morning Herald article on the same topic.