ALIA Statement: Respect for Public Library Staff

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) recognises the value of public library staff and the  work they do. Public library staff are committed to the communities they serve and uphold the core values of the library and information services sector. These Core Values include:

  • Promotion of the free flow of information and ideas through open access to recorded knowledge, information, and creative works
  • Connection of people to ideas, knowledge creation and learning
  • Dedication to fostering reading, information and digital literacies
  • Respect for the diversity, individuality and equality of all
  • Excellence, accountability, integrity and responsibility in service to our communities

Public libraries welcome everyone and create a safe and enriching space for all members of the community. Sometimes members of the community exhibit challenging behaviours and library staff are experienced at responding to these situations with skill, sensitivity and empathy while ensuring other patrons can enjoy the space.

We are aware of an increase in the incidence of deliberate aggression, violence and other anti-social behaviour towards public library staff. These targeted threats are often coming from people who are outside the local community.

This behaviour is unacceptable. Library staff deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe at work. Library staff should never come under attack for doing their job and upholding their professional values. 

ALIA supports public library staff and their Councils in standing up and saying “No” to these targeted attacks. ALIA joins with library communities to thank library staff for their dedication, skills and ethics in the continued delivery of vital public library services to communities.

ALIA Members can always contact the ALIA office for assistance in professional matters – [email protected] or 02 6215 8222.


In conjunction with our many volunteers within library services we are developing additional resources to support the sector and will share these on our website and communication channels shortly.