ALIA Skills, Knowledge and Ethics Framework for the Library and Information Services Workforce

From 2020 – 2023 a significant workforce project brought together representatives from library and information service (LIS) sectors across Australia to develop an approach to ensure a resilient, diverse workforce with the skills, knowledge, professionalism and ethics required to navigate our rapidly changing workplaces. 

This multi-stakeholder project has several component parts, and the first to be launched is the ALIA Framework of Skills, Knowledge and Ethics for the Library and Information Services Workforce (or 'the Framework' for short) that you see above.

At the heart of this Framework and project are the information needs of the communities served by the LIS workforce. The professional knowledge, ethics and values that are developed and put into practice underpin the diverse services that the sector offers these communities.

Download the full ALIA Library and Information Services Workforce Framework


Jane Cowell
ALIA President

Trish Hepworth
ALIA Director of Policy & Education

The Framework consists of three components:

  • Core Domains: these are three universal knowledge, skills and ethics areas applicable for roles across the LIS sector, regardless of whether you have LIS qualifications. Click on the side menu item for more detail.
  • Professional Knowledge Domains: these are key areas of LIS knowledge. Associate and LibTec members of ALIA would be expected to have knowledge of all domains. Click on the side menu item for more detail.
  • Active Professionalism: encompasses the professional mindset and the behavioural skills that are critical for the successful application of the Core and Professional Knowledge Domains in the workplace. Click on the side menu item for more detail.

Purpose of the Framework

The Framework distills the skills, knowledge and ethics needed to work effectively in the LIS sector and to provide high-quality services to library communities. 

The Framework is aimed at a multitude of LIS stakeholders, bringing students, employees, employers, educators, training providers, organisations and the professional association together into a common presentation of the knowledge, skills and ethical behaviour that underpin the workforce and the sector. 

Because the Framework is sector-wide, it can serve as a mechanism to foster professional cohesion and be used an advocacy tool through the clear expression of the vital significance of our core values and ethical principles, providing a visible structure to our field of practice and articulating our contemporary identity.

The Framework communicates both within and outside the LIS sector, offering a clearly articulated presentation of our shared ethics, values and knowledge areas. Having a clear impression of the sector will support those looking to transition careers, bringing with them a diversity of skills and experience. 

Kylie Poulton
Pathways Board Member

Vicki McDonald
Pathways Board Member

How to use the Framework

For individuals

  • For individuals working in LIS at all levels, the Framework can be used as a compass to map out one’s skills development and career journey.
  • It can be used as a personal skills gap analysis tool, indicating the areas that skills and competency that have been achieved and the areas to develop.
  • The Active Professionalism Domain articulates the commitment to lifelong learning that accompanies peoples’ career trajectories. The Framework scaffolds continuing professional development (CPD) activities with integration into the ALIA CPD Scheme.
  • Transition from one LIS sector to another or between roles within the same sector can be guided through identification of skills and knowledge areas required to move successfully and confidently.
  • For specialist practitioners, the Framework can articulate the difference and unique skills that their professional specialisation harnesses, and be a support for professional advocacy.

For organisations

  • At the organisational level, the Framework can be employed as a skills map tool or skills gap analysis framework for the whole employee body, for teams or to for individual team members.
  • Through alignment with the CPD Scheme, the Framework can scaffold staff development and CPD programs, and be used in career development plans and performance reviews.
  • For recruitment purposes, the Framework can underpin role description criteria by mapping out competency areas required or desired for particular roles.
  • By centring the sector’s values and ethics, as well as presenting the applied skills and competencies, the Framework can be used to attract potential candidates to the sector and enhance recruitment.

Feedback and development

The Framework will be revised by a cross-sectoral advisory board in 12 months, and then every two years in order to ensure it maintains currency and accuracy. If you would like to provide feedback on the Framework, please contact [email protected].