Libraries and information services and Indigenous peoples

ALIA Objects addressed

  • To promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy and democracy.
  • 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.

Principles

In furthering the goals of free flow of information, library and information services must engage with Indigenous clienteles and with issues arising from Indigenous knowledge and the experiences and priorities of Indigenous Australians.

Statement

The Australian Library and Information Association endorses the vision of a united Australia which respects this land of ours; values the Indigenous heritage; and provides justice and equity for all.

The Association recognises that libraries and information services have a role to play in the process of reconciliation by encouraging their engagement with the process of reconciliation and by examining and, where necessary, amending their policies and practices in consultation with Indigenous peoples.

The Association recognises the diversity of Indigenous cultures. It believes that the participation of Indigenous peoples in planning and decision making will lead to the achievement of appropriate representation of this diversity in library and information services. The Association affirms its commitment by taking a leadership role in promoting participation.

Four key areas are to be addressed by the library and information services sector in providing services to Indigenous peoples, and in managing information relevant to Indigenous cultures and communities.

  1. Indigenous peoples are included in decision-making and policy formulation processes to ensure that culturally appropriate decisions can be made and, where relevant, Indigenous peoples participate in the governance and operation of library and information services.
  2. Provision and management of information resources and provision of services recognise cultural diversity, and culturally appropriate decisions are made on all issues related to access to information and provision of services. This will include consultation with community representatives.
  3. For equity of employment Indigenous peoples must have access to employment opportunities at all levels and in all areas of library and information services. Opportunities for education and training should be provided to allow Indigenous staff to pursue their career aspirations.
  4. Cross-cultural awareness programs are implemented and provide opportunities for two-way learning. Programs should reflect the diversity of Indigenous peoples and be developed in conjunction with the local Indigenous community.

Relevant government policy and legislation and the Indigenous protocols for libraries, archives and information services must guide and determine practice within the library and information sector.

Amended 2009