ALIA Board COVID-19 statement: updated

Canberra, 24 January: To support and guide the way the library and information science sector (LIS) undertakes activities within a pandemic environment, the ALIA Board has developed the following position statement. This statement is underpinned by the following two Objects of the Association:

  • To promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy, environment and democracy.
  • 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.

Our sector has a responsibility to protect and support LIS workers and the community by aiding in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 whilst continuing to provide information and resources to all users, including the most vulnerable in society.

This means our sector:

  • maintains COVID-safe practices, policies, and other relevant arrangements in accordance with relevant government health directives and advice
  • promotes accurate information and works against the spread of mis and disinformation
  • continues to provide and/or adapt for best-practice services.

We can do this by:

  • getting vaccinated and receiving the booster vaccination if we are able to
  • understanding and following appropriate COVID-safe guidelines and recommendations including vaccination, lockdown and quarantine arrangements as determined by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments
  • supporting the community through universal access to accurate information
  • finding ways to support those who are unable to come into the library due to Commonwealth, state and territory governments requirements
  • sharing information about how libraries around the country are providing services that support best practice.

Libraries provide essential services to many in our communities, and with that in mind we encourage library leaders and staff:

  • to continue to maintain existing services where possible
  • to adapt and plan for future restriction scenarios
  • to provide remote services for library users who are unwilling or unable to visit physical library locations.

ALIA will continue to collate and share information about the status of state and territory requirements and how libraries around the country are working through re-openings and creating innovative new approaches to physical and online services.