Courses in library and information science

A pdf version of this policy can be found here.

The phrase 'library and information professional' refers to those members of the profession who have completed an entry-level qualification in Library and Information Science at either Associate or Library Technician level.

The phrase ‘library and information agencies’ includes libraries, archives, records, and cultural heritage information agencies.

Purpose

To articulate the Association’s commitment to foster and support quality library and information science courses.

ALIA Constitution Objects addressed:

  • To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.
  • To ensure the high standard of personnel engaged in information provision and foster their professional interests and aspirations.

Principle

The education of library and information professionals is key to the development of excellence in services provided by library and information agencies. Graduates must be able to apply a high standard of library and information science (LIS) knowledge, demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Statement

Library and information science courses need to be grounded in the core values of the profession.

Courses need to be innovative, responsive and adaptable in order to anticipate and respond to changes impacting on the development and delivery of services in library and information agencies.

Graduates need to be able to understand and apply theoretical and practical knowledge to achieve excellence in LIS practice.

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is committed to promoting and encouraging a research culture and research practice amongst library and information professionals and educators in order to ensure continuous improvement in LIS education and practice.

ALIA works collaboratively with higher and vocational education institutions and registered training organisations (RTOs) recognised by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), employers, practitioners, students and other relevant professional associations to promote the development and continuous improvement of LIS courses.

ALIA’s course accreditation process is an essential mechanism to ensure the high standard of personnel engaged in information provision and forms the basis for international comparability and reciprocal recognition of qualifications, graduate success and mobility. ALIA accredits LIS courses at the Diploma, Bachelor, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters levels.

Through the course accreditation process, ALIA ensures that courses:

  • consist of a curriculum that covers the
  • are appropriately resourced by the providing institution/RTO, in terms of the number and levels of staff qualified to teach and administer the course and in the infrastructure available to support the course;
  • have appropriate quality assurance mechanisms set in place by the providing institution/RTO;
  • are advised and supported by industry through mechanisms which enable consultation between course providers and practitioners, by organising and documenting a minimum of two course/program Industry and Employer Consultation Committee meetings per calendar year;
  • provide industry experience as an integrated component to link theory to the practice of the profession, for a minimum of ten days duration, or equivalent to be negotiated with ALIA; and
  • offer opportunities for students to engage in authentic learning activities, for example, fieldwork, project work and access to resources in libraries and information agencies.

To maintain accreditation, ALIA requires that providers:

  • deliver a satisfactory plan for addressing the recommendations of an Accreditation Panel (accreditation is usually on a five year cycle) and provision of satisfactory Annual Course Returns (ACR);
  • continue ALIA Institutional membership for each LIS campus, school and private provider. ALIA also encourages personal membership by educators;
  • nominate one representative to attend either the biennial face-to-face ALIA Higher Educators’ Forum or the annual face-to-face ALIA LT Educators’ Forum;
  • nominate one ALIA student award per accredited course and graduating year; and
  • agree to the right of ALIA to reassess the course on the occurrence of what in ALIA’s view are exceptional circumstances.
  • ALIA supports the efficiency of joint accreditation processes and encourages and facilitates temporary transfers between educators and practitioners within the LIS sector.

Reviewed 2009, 2019.

[1] The Foundation Knowledge and ALIA Core knowledge policies are currently undergoing a review and it is anticipated that they will be merged into one updated document. This section will then require further editing after the review has been completed.