Statement on public library services

ALIA objects addressed

To promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interests of all Australians and a thriving culture and democracy.

To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.


Freedom of access to public library and information services is essential

  • to enable members of the Australian communities, including new residents and emerging communities to participate in all aspects of Australian life, including the democratic process;
  • to actively contribute to social inclusion for all members of the Australian community; and
  • to enable Australians to contribute to the economic wellbeing of their families and the nation.


Each member of the Australian community has an equal right to public library and information services regardless of age, race, gender, religion, nationality, language, disability, geographic location, social status, economic status and educational attainment.

A public library services its community through the provision of access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services. It does this through access to materials in all formats in order to meet the needs of individuals and groups for education, information and personal development through learning, including recreation and leisure.

Public libraries have an important role in the development and maintenance of a democratic society by giving individuals access to a wide and varied range of information, ideas, opinions, and skills.

The role of public libraries is essential in developing an educated society through programs that improve literacy and information literacy including lifelong learning opportunities. Public libraries contribute to economic prosperity by helping people improve their skills and life chances.

Public libraries provide the first point of access for information for the general public and for the public's access to the national and international system of library and information services.

The satisfaction of a person's information needs must be independent of an ability to pay.

Local, state/territory and Commonwealth governments have an obligation to work in partnership to provide agreed public library services to all members of the library's clientele without direct charge to the user.

The Australian Library and Information Association believes that public library services have particular responsibilities to monitor and proactively respond to the changing demographic characteristics and trends of their communities, to consult with their communities and to meet information, learning and recreational needs of an increasingly diverse society. Public library services should ensure that they have policies, guidelines, and procedures in place to respond to and meet relevant legislative requirements.

Amended 2009