NGAC Response to the Australia Marriage Law Postal Survey

The New Generation Advisory Committee exists to help strengthen the participation of students and recently graduated library and information professionals in the Association. The Committee provides advice to the ALIA Board of Directors on issues of relevance to students and new professionals. NGAC works to inform the Board with the aim of ensuring the Association’s relevance to these groups.

At the end of last week NGAC started a dialogue with the ALIA Board on the issue of the impending postal vote on the issue of marriage equality. This has resulted in a formal response and submission from NGAC to the Board, which was submitted on the 16th August. In the interest of transparency for the varied group of individuals that we represent for ALIA, please find attached below our full response to the Australia Marriage Law Postal Vote of November 2017.

The official ALIA response generated on the 15th is a good start, and NGAC thank the Board for taking that step, but NGAC feel that further action is needed. We have included a list of recommended actions that we feel ALIA, and other GLAMR organisations, can and should implement.

Our recommendations are as follows:

  • Provide a strong voice advocating this as not a political issue, rather a human rights issue.
  • Highlight the need to critically evaluate information quality and bias in public discourse.
  • Provide guidance on how to register to vote.
  • Circulate organisational, community and individual stories from clients and staff in the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Share and/or develop resources for creating safe spaces in libraries.
  • Promote resources for educating library patrons about LGBTQIA+ themes and issues.
  • Challenge the idea that Library services and professionals are inherently neutral, and that silence on the matter is an endorsement of existing inequality.
  • Develop a poster/resource/toolkit that can be used by all libraries in the lead up to the vote, to inform public, staff, and clients and include how libraries can help those affected.

We invite you all, either as individuals or organisations to endorse this response and share it widely.

2017 ALIA NGAC Response to the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

Thank you,

The ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee



Review of NGAC Twitter

About the review

During 2014 to 2016, we undertook a review of our Twitter account @aliangac.

We did this review to:

  • better understand our usage of Twitter
  • determine if our tweets engage with library and information services (LIS) new professional and student members and reflect their concerns and interests
  • identify opportunities where the committee could improve our online engagement in terms of both content and work processes.

We collected information about our tweets and followers by using social media analysis tools and conducting an online survey. Many thanks to everyone who assisted us by completing the survey!

Then we produced a report on the review and our findings which were presented to the ALIA Board in early 2017.

Read the full report:









Through the review it was discovered that our Twitter audience is not looking for fun kitschy posts, instead they prefer original and personal content that engages and also aligns with the voice of ALIA.

The review also revealed that our followers are seeking in-depth professional discussion and information that explores Australian library and GLAMR news, current events and employment issues.

Next steps

Using the information and insights gained from the review, NGAC has prepared a number of recommended actions including the following (see the report for the full list of recommended actions):

  • foster an appealing and accessible LIS online professional discourse by continuing to lead and promote #auslibchat
  • improve content scope and follower engagement by starting discussions, improving the quality of Twitter replies, addressing follower concerns and tweeting on a more personal level.

We hope the insights we gained by conducting the review will help us to better engage with our Twitter audience as well as forge a valuable online presence for LIS new professionals and students.

We are committed to continuous improvement in our online engagement and always welcome feedback from our followers. Please direct message your suggestions to @aliangac.

NLS8 Bursary Winner!

Congratulations to Liz Finlay on winning our NLS8 Bursary earlier this month. Below is her full entry.


NGAC loved the hat and all it represented.

It is a creative and succinct visual representation of Ms Finlay’s ideas about the future of libraries and the semantic web.  There is a lot of nice detail, and obviously a lot of work went into it. It is ingeniously short but with a whole lot of depth. The explantation below was also well presented.

And we’re glad to announce that Liz can bring it to NLS8 and will let us put it in the ALIA 100th Birthday time capsule!

Thank you to everyone that entered. ALIA was so impressed with the overall quality that we have been allowed to include in the time capsule, along with Liz’s hat, a paper copy of every entry we received.

Well done!

The Library & Information World in 2037: NLS8 Bursary Competition

I have expressed my thoughts about where the Library & Information world will be in 2037 through the creation of a hand knit hat. Knitted hats are hard to send by email so this document describes the hat.

The hat has the Dewey Decimal Classification number 025.0427 knitted into the pattern: the classification number for the Semantic Web.



Just as knitting creates a web of threads extending throughout the fabric, I believe that in 2037 the Library & Information world will be part of the machine readable Semantic Web created through linked data.

Every drop of structured data added to library catalogues and information agency repositories will create an impact rippling out through the web of data like a pebble dropped in a pond.  This effect is reflected in the crown of the hat.

The linked data underpinning the Semantic Web is represented by the circle of chain links edging the button on the side of the hat.  The button is also made of metal, referencing the circuitry of processors and servers that provide the physical infrastructure for the Semantic Web.


And, most importantly of all.  Working with this web of data will be human beings – without which a hat is particularly useless.

I am Liz Finlay, Master of Information Studies student at Charles Sturt University, and owner of a rather fabulous hat.  If my hat is a successful entry depicting the Library and Information world in 2037, I will cheerfully donate it to the ALIA time capsule (I have enough yarn left to knit another one!!).



Well done again Liz! See you at NLS8!

James McGoran

NGAC, Acting Chair

#auslibchat follow up: notes from Clare O’Dwyer

Clare O’Dwyer gives us her extended answers from the last #auslibchat:

“I really enjoyed #auslibchat and it is an amazing experience especially when working overseas – although it made me a little homesick.

Here are my extended answers for the blog…

Q1. What was your first GLAMR job? #auslibchat

My first job was a library assistant in a volunteer role at my old primary school. This led to a paid role.

It was a really wonderful first job that I was given quite a lot of autonomy in to do story times and creative displays. I was only 19 years old so it really helped me feel more confident to get started in a library career.

Q2. How were you supported in your early career by ALIA or other professional organisations? What would you change/do differently? #auslibchat

In my early career my first experience of working in a public library at 20 was dreadful I was really bullied. However I did get recommended into another library assistant role in another organisation where the love vibe reigned. I had stomach pain each day from the laughter and fun with my colleagues. My manager told me quite clearly I should go to university and get qualified … she really believed in my ability. From a Library technician qualification to a Masters in Arts Management later that manager lit a fire that has never gone out. I truly love libraries and our ability to transform a library experience for our clients.

Q3. What would you do to champion new gen professionals & new grads in an environment that is increasingly difficult to find a job? #auslibchat

There is a real need to have succession planning strengthened in the larger libraries in Australia. Ideally more paid internships or cadets or short term project opportunities. In RMIT Vietnam the majority of the library staff are 20 years younger than me … they bring so much great optimism, strategic ideas and creative energy.

Q4. What role does ALIA have to play in the critical l’ship movement? How does this relate to future strategy and action? #auslibchat

Libraries more than ever are institutions of truth that support diversity. They are truly spaces that you can be alone but also supported by Librarians. Its important to keep our profile high to ensure government and institutional funding for the long term and to ensure Librarians are recognised as professionals. That includes maintaining salaries that are commensurate with the IT industry.

Q5. How can the profession continue to grow & develop? What role do you see for new gen professionals right now? #auslibchat

Its really exciting times for new gen librarians – opportunities in research, data management, digital curation, events, training, curating exhibitions and so much more. If I was starting out again I would be very interested in coding and gaining more skills in digital archives.

We will continue to grow if we keep both and open mind and seize opportunities to step in and be a critical service. I am very excited that libraries can also be maker spaces, performance spaces, business start up platforms and learning spaces. Our strength is that we don’t just talk about innovation we implement it.”


Thanks Clare!

If you missed last week’s chat, here is the Storify.

Here are the candidates’ Twitter handles to look out for:

Alicia Cohen – @Alicia_Cohen

Jonathon Guppy – @JonnyGup

Clare O’Dwyer – @MrsChurchill1

Anne Reddacliff – @AMoodiLibrarian

Don’t forget that if you’re an ALIA member, there’s still time to vote! Get to know your candidates and hop to it!

James McGoran

Vice Chair, NGAC

#auslibchat follow up: notes from Anne Reddacliff

Last week the New Generation Advisory Committee hosted a different sort of #auslibchat where we asked this year’s ALIA Board candidates questions from our student and new graduates community. We, and I’m sure the participants too, very much appreciated the candidates’ time and input to the discussion.

The committee recognises that Twitter chats can be fast-paced and not all our answers fit into 140 characters. So in thanking our candidates, we extended an invitation to post any further thoughts or longer answers that the candidates may have prepared.

Take it away, Anne!

In more than 140 characters I’d like to address two key questions from our Twitter chat last week:

What would you do to champion new gen professionals & new grads in an environment that is increasingly difficult to find a job?


I’d like to see ALIA introduce a mentoring scheme that pairs ALIA members as mentors with students/new grads. The aim is to provide support, guidance and encouragement with applying for jobs as well as to utilise one person’s networks to help another. ALIA has done great work hosting resume cafes/workshops for students, new grads and those affected by redundancies. As a mental health advocate I am particularly interested in how ALIA can help students/new grads to build resilience. I welcome the opportunity to play a larger role in this and would like to develop an online resilience toolkit or infographic to help students and new grads bounce back!

What role does ALIA have to play in the critical librarianship movement? How does this relate to future strategy and action?


As our national association ALIA has an important role to play in critical librarianship. Critical librarianship is about valuing diversity and critiquing the power structures we work within. Groups like ALIA LGBTQ and ATSILIRN provide diverse perspectives to ALIA but there is always more work that can be done. I would welcome input on how ALIA can address some of the issues that are raised in critical librarianship, particularly from external groups like Librarians for Refugees. The ALIA Strategic Plan states that ALIA’s object is to “respect the diversity and individuality of all people.” ALIA is also commencing vital action around the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals which advocate for women and technology, the environment and providing affordable access to the internet. This action is powered by many of the same ideas that drive critical librarianship.

As a final statement I nominated for the ALIA Board because I work in frontline client service and I get direct feedback from clients on how libraries are or aren’t meeting their needs. I am in a sound position to help ALIA devise policies that are responsive to diverse communities and the changing expectations of library clientele. I have a broad professional network and I actively listen to ALIA members and non-members about what they want from our professional association.

If you missed last week’s chat, here is the Storify.

Here are the candidates’ Twitter handles to look out for:

Alicia Cohen – @Alicia_Cohen

Jonathon Guppy – @JonnyGup

Clare O’Dwyer – @MrsChurchill1

Anne Reddacliff – @AMoodiLibrarian

Don’t forget that if you’re an ALIA member, there’s still time to vote! Get to know your candidates and hop to it!


Alisa Howlett

on behalf of the New Generation Advisory Commitee