Message from the ALIA Board

20 March 2020

ALIA Members

COVID-19 has created difficult and anxious times for people working in libraries and for our users.

The ALIA Board supports library leaders across the country who are having to make difficult decisions about whether to keep libraries open to support students, educators, researchers, health professionals, people without digital access at home, and those who would feel an intense sense of loss if they weren’t able to visit their local library. Libraries are adapting, promoting digital resources and accurate information, as well as offering innovative virtual services in order to support their communities. At the same time, managers are thinking about the health and wellbeing of their staff, and how they can minimise their teams’ exposure to the Coronavirus. While for many staff, health is the major concern, we also know that a significant number of you work on a casual basis and are worried about how you will make ends meet if you have reduced hours or your library closes altogether.

There are no easy answers to the many challenges that face us on a professional and personal basis at this time.

We would like to assure you that the ALIA Board is monitoring the situation on a daily basis, while managing the issues in our own workplaces.

You will see on the ALIA website that the ALIA team is posting changes to library services across Australia on an hourly basis, to help inform local decisions about service cancellations, reductions and library closures. There is also a regularly updated list of resources and news of a special agreement on copyright for library storytimes, and special arrangements for Diploma industry placements to help our LIS students.

We have cancelled our major National Conference and other events and meetings. We have put in place work-from-home procedures for ALIA employees.

As the situation unfolds we will do more – and we welcome any suggestions you have about information or resources which would support you.

Please contact us at any time

Robert Knight, President, and Viv Barton, Vice-President

On behalf of the ALIA Board