Rob Thomson*

ALIA NSW State Manager

*Rob is a candidate for General Director

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

I have been a lifelong user of libraries and began my library career in 1992 and my involvement with ALIA in 1995. I commenced my library life in a small corporate library, had some public library experience, then delivered the Diploma LIS course from 2010 till 2019. I have been ALIA NSW State Manager since March 2019 and I see the opportunity to serve on the ALIA Board as the next logical step in my career in libraries. I am motivated by a desire to give back to the world of libraries, and to ALIA, for the joy of being in this richly enabling profession.

What skills and experience would you bring to the Board?
My experience of being involved in ALIA from 1995, serving on committees, involved with organising conferences, symposiums and unconferences, and, with teaching the Diploma, having an umbrella view of the industry. This, as well as my term as State Manager, affords me an insight into the industry, which whilst perhaps not unique, is certainly different to most. I have presented at conferences, and my term as State Manager has allowed me to mentor others, and listen to feedback, concerns and ideas directly from members. As a Library Technician, a typically hands on, front of house kind of role, I tend to look at things from a practical point of view.
What are the three most important issues currently facing ALIA or the LIS workforce?

The three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS workforce, for me, are:

  1. Implementation of the Professional Pathways process, which will assist in increasing the diversity of the LIS Workforce and broadening of the LIS skills base and allow for organisations and individuals to identify the gaps in their skills set.
  2. Countering the funding shortfalls across the GLAMR Sector and for Libraries in particular by continuing to support efforts to raise our professional profile and argue the case of what we do for the democratic ideals of a civilised society through the access to information and the creation of opportunities for all.
  3. To elevate the voices of those ALIA Members in the regions, and to promote opportunities for professional development in remote and rural (and suburban and urban) areas, and to raise the profile of Library Technicians.