Submission highlights essential role of library and information sector

ALIA has recently provided a submission to the Australian Universities Accord Discussion Paper .

ALIA’s submission reflects ALIA’s role in three key areas:

  • as the industry body for the library and information sector, reliant on higher education to provide graduates with the knowledge, skills and ethics needed by the industry into the future.
  • as the professional association and accrediting body for library and information science courses at both higher education and VET level in Australia.
  • as the membership association for libraries and information services, whose work and infrastructure is essential in supporting student learning, teaching and research.

The submission highlights the essential role played by Library and Information services in Australia that supports both formal and informal education systems and lifelong learning.

The excerpts below provide a taste of the issues covered:

‘Within universities, the work of university libraries in supporting the quality of student learning, teaching and research is undeniable’.

‘The library network is a central, yet rarely acknowledged element of our national research infrastructure. Libraries collect, manage and provide access to the academic literature and other physical and digital resources that underpin all research in Australia’.

‘There are … significant roadblocks in collaboration posed by the current siloed and proprietary approaches to research. The Accord provides the opportunity to address these roadblocks with a coordinated national investment to support open scholarly communications’.

‘Libraries and their staff play a critical role in providing the infrastructure that underpins equity and access, enhances quality and critical infrastructure and services that meet priorities in teaching, and research and lifelong learning’.

‘Librarians’ core business is connecting people, knowledge and resources, and they often play a critical role in cross-disciplinary teams, including supporting researchers navigating the differences in scholarly publishing and resource access that exist between disciplines’.

ALIA’s submission also highlight’s the specialised and technical skills of librarians and library technicians, together with ALIA’s key role in accrediting the different library and information courses.

It includes the following overarching recommendations, along with detailed recommendations that address more specific issues:

  1. That the higher fees imposed for Commonwealth supported places for library and information studies are reduced.
  2. That support is put in place for smaller and niche industry courses, recognizing their important contribution to Australia.
  3. That industry accreditation is recognised and valued, especially by Australian industry bodies with the knowledge of Australian industry needs.
  4. That open educational resources and open scholarship are supported at national level.
  5. That the work of university libraries, archives and other information services are recognised and adequately resourced.

The full submission provides an invaluable insight into the breadth and depth of the critical support provided by libraries and their skilled staff to Australian research infrastructure and learning. ALIA would like to acknowledge the contributions of all who helped form the submission, in particular Dr Lizzie Tait, Julie Barkman and Dr Kate Davis.

You can read the full submission here

Heather Brown

Librarian, Education and Sector Standards