NGAC is delighted to have been able to ask questions of the candidates for this year’s ALIA board elections. Our questions were focused on issues specifically related to students and new graduates. Each candidate’s responses will be posted separately. There are a number of candidates this year and we’ve received a fabulous response so far.
Many thanks to all candidates for taking the time to answer our questions.
Today’s responses come from Lyndall Osborne.
1. What do you think of the state of the profession for new graduates? If they are finding it difficult to find their first job what advice would you give them?
I actually think in Australia librarianship is a dynamic and exciting profession with lots of opportunity for new graduates. Australian libraries of all types are embracing the challenges of new technologies, new roles, new collaborative opportunities and new ways of engaging with community. Librarians have awesome skills that can be applied in all sorts of non-traditional roles. New librarians can find themselves in the traditional catch-22 of needing experience and not having the means to get experience. I would advise taking every opportunity to talk to working librarians, to network, and even to intern or undertake other short periods of work if possible. Be involved in social media. Consider the unusual, ask for opportunities, you never know where it might lead and it will all broaden your horizons and add to your resume.
2. How can ALIA help students and new graduates? For those in hiring positions what are the benefits of hiring new graduate LIS professionals?
ALIA professional development programs are really important, especially courses that are free and can be undertaken online so that learning can continue. So are the ways ALIA helps showcase employment opportunities. Perhaps it could also help advertise intern and volunteer positions. For those hiring new graduates there are advantages: enthusiasm, new ideas, the latest knowledge, the ability to help someone start their career.
3. What are the essential skills librarians and information professionals need in order to be relevant both today and going into the future? What could ALIA do to promote librarians as information professionals and service providers with skills relevant to a wider range of industries?
Technology is key, everything from coding to data visualisation to super searching. So is understanding ways of engaging with (at times collaborating with) and understanding your community, whether that community is students, researchers, workers in a hospital or other industry, or the general public served through a public library.Flexibility, adaptability, the ability to be resilient in times of continuous change, to be able to innovate and be creative.
ALIA can and should be involved in a wide range of industry forums and conferences, consider providing speakers, have a stand in the trade show at a variety of forums, not just library and closely related conferences.
4. What have been the benefits of undertaking professional development in your career? Why should the Professional Development program be compulsory for all ALIA members?
Learning is always valuable, in fact essential. I have learned much over my career by working in a wide variety of libraries: public, university, special, research. Each type of library, and each difference position has taught me new skills and new ways of applying and developing my professional knowledge. Learning keeps you change ready and that is essential to have a long-term career.
5. What would you like to see the ALIA board achieve?
To continue to improve the profile of the profession, to develop valuable and valued information professionals, to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people into the profession so that they can care for their own cultural knowledge and archives, and to be a relevant professional body to workers in libraries and information organisations.
We encourage all eligible members to consider these responses as they make their decisions to vote in the election. Voting is underway in the 2016 ALIA Board of Directors election and will close on Friday 8 April 2016.
More information about the process and this year’s candidates can be found at the ALIA website.
Alisa Howlett, Chair ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee