The Australian Library and Information Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to lands, waters, cultures, and communities. ALIA acknowledges Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of knowing that have existed on these Lands for millennia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to Elders past and present.
ALIA’s vision is for an Australia where library and information services are fully inclusive of Australia’s First Nation’s cultures and perspectives, truth telling is supported, and where First Nations peoples are an integral part of the Australian library services workforce.
In the context of our organisation, this means engaging meaningfully with First Nations’ workers in the library and information sector, removing barriers to a more diverse and inclusive library and information workforce, and supporting the implementation of First Nations’ policies and protocols in the Australian library and information sector.
Libraries and archives are not always safe spaces for Indigenous peoples in Australia. There are concrete efforts towards cultural safety, however, progress has been inconsistent and ununified, and if libraries and memory institutions are to be representative of the communities they serve, greater efforts are needed.
ALIA values the creation of strong, enduring and meaningful relationships that help us better understand how ALIA can effectively be of support in realising our vision.
Areas of activity
- ALIA has facilitated the formation of an Expert Advisory Group made up of seven members. ALIA is listening to the group’s professional expertise related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priority areas on LIS matters.
- The ALIA Strategic Plan 2021-2024 sets out the task to support organisations seeking to increase diversity within their workforces and help develop libraries’ role as culturally safe spaces.
- The Professional Pathways project is committed to embedding recognition and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts, knowledges and Country into core competencies. The Professional Pathways Framework was created in close collaboration with the ALIA EAG.
- The ALIA Innovate RAP 2022-2024 was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in 2022. Implementation of the RAP firms ALIA’s organisational commitment to reconciliation and provides a central focus for the many ways we contribute to affirmative reconciliation action.
- Indigenous matters are included in the Foundation knowledge for entry level library and information professionals (2020) and in the Foundation statement for information professionals working in archives, libraries and records management (2020).
- In ALIA's statement on copyright and intellectual property, ALIA recognises and respects the communal ownership of Indigenous cultural property.
- ALIA supported the original ATSILIRN protocols and is currently taking steps to support the review and revitalisation of the Protocols.
- The ALIA CPD Scheme hosts an Indigenous Engagement specialisation and a Public Library specialisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, both with a set of competencies and a skills audit checklist. The monthly CPD Digest newsletter provides ALIA Professional members with current learning resources related to this specialisation.
- Internationally, ALIA provided initial support for the creation of the IFLA Section for Indigenous Matters and continues to be a financial member of the section.
- Every ALIA conference, event and meeting commences with an Acknowledgement of Country or a Welcome to Country where appropriate.
- ALIA is a long-term supporter of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, providing free promotion through ALIA newsletters and conferences.