Vocational education and training (VET) libraries

About VET libraries


How many libraries and where are they located?

According to our mapping of TAFE libraries, there are 51 institutes of TAFE around Australia, with 397 campuses and 252 libraries. You can download the full list at 24 April 2017 here.

It is harder to find out about libraries serving private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Some RTOs have excellent library services on their own account; others have fee-for-service arrangements with TAFE, University and public libraries, but there are also RTO libraries which fail to meet an acceptable standard of information service provision to students.

Snapshot of the issues facing the sector

Early in 2016, the ALIA VET Libraries Advisory Committee carried out a survey of TAFE libraries to provide a snapshot of the issues facing the sector. The survey generated responses from every state and territory, providing feedback about how changes in structure and funding have affected TAFE libraries and the library and information professionals who run them. The findings showed that TAFE libraries had not escaped the dramatic changes taking place in vocational education and training, often as a result of cost-cutting. Download the survey report here.

Guidelines for Australian VET Libraries

In June 2016, the committee published new Guidelines for Australian VET Libraries, which expressed where we are now, with libraries providing essential support for educators and students, and the potential for the future, with libraries embracing new technologies, new resources, new services and new programs, to deliver the very best student experience, whether on campus or online. There are 25 guidelines covering everything from access to information through to library management and accountability.

National Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme

The ALIA Vet Libraries Advisory Committee manages the National Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme

ALIA support for VET libraries

We have far less information about VET libraries than we do university libraries, which is why our VET Library Advisory Committee commenced a data gathering exercise at the beginning of 2013. Victoria has its own TAFE library association - the Victorian Association of TAFE Libraries (VATL) as does Queensland – the Queensland VET Libraries Association (QVLA) Inc. 
  • We advocate for VET libraries. In 2012, we joined with the Victorian Association of TAFE Libraries (VATL) to lobby against budget cuts initiated by the Victorian State Government and created a prospectus about the value of TAFE libraries. 
  • The ALIA VET Library Advisory Committee advises the ALIA Board on policy for this sector.
  • We provide research grants for members to explore aspects of library and information science. 
  • We keep our members up to date through ALIA Weekly enewsletter, INCITE magazine and targeted conference programs. 
  • Our PD Scheme recognises ongoing learning and our training courses cover topics that are relevant to our members from VET libraries. 
  • We work closely with TAFEs which offer library and information courses. 
  • There are active ALIA Groups in every state and territory and many opportunities for individual Members to participate as volunteers for events and advocacy. 
  • Many ALIA Board members have come from academic and TAFE libraries. 
  • We subscribe to library and information science ebooks that our members can access free of charge.

ALIA Futures has more information about VET libraries