ALIA Board Letter to NGAC Response on Marriage Equality Postal Survey

ALIA Newsletter Heading NGAC

On 16 August 2017, the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee submitted our response to the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to the ALIA Board, with recommendations for actions we would like to see from ALIA. On 23 August 2017 we received a brief response to this submission, which we did not make public at the time. Later, when ALIA received further correspondence regarding the postal survey from Members of the association, they offered to provide us with a letter giving further detail and context to their initial response that we could then make publicly available.

 

This letter was received on 11 September 2017. We thank the ALIA CEO and Board for their time and willingness to continue dialogue around this important issue. We also thank them for their actions so far.

 

As stated in our original submission, we believe marriage equality is a human rights issue, and neutrality from the library industry at this time would only provide implicit support to those who would seek to vilify and discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people in Australia.

 

Let’s be clear. We feel the postal survey is a divisive and hurtful political process, and we cannot endorse people or institutions who would deny people’s civil rights on the basis of their sexuality or gender.

 

We agree that ALIA Members are “engaged, intelligent thinkers”. We see the pressure from these Members on social media as a sign not of the industry turning in on itself, but as a sign of our profession doing what it does best: advocating for our communities. And we urge everyone reading this to continue to advocate and take any action they are able to, to support the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Read the letter here:

ALIA Marriage equality response to NGAC

ALIA Board elections are coming! We’d like to hear from you!

It’s that time of year again. ALIA Board elections are coming!

In our role of representing and advocating for new graduates in the past we have invited candidates for the ALIA Board election to respond to a set number of questions about issues and concerns relevant to our community – students and new graduates. You can find last year’s responses here on the blog.

This year, the committee would like to do something a bit different and have invited the board candidates to our next #auslibchat!

You can find information about this year’s candidates on the ALIA website. Voting begins on Monday 6th March.

We’d like to know what topics or issues are on your mind and what you’d like to ask this year’s ALIA board candidates. Please let us know in the comments or tweet us with the hashtag #ngacqtns2017

Then tune in and participate in #auslibchat on Tuesday 7th March, 2017 at 9pm AEDT.

ALIA Board elections 2016: Annette McGuiness

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 Annette McGuiness.

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 believe that the LIS industry offers new graduates some amazing opportunities for those willing to engage and to step forward and/or step up to them. I found ALIA’s Future of the Library and information profession reports (see: https://alia.org.au/futureoftheprofession) provided good insights into the ‘state of the profession’ across a range of the industry’s sectors.

Opportunities do vary across sectors and across the states and territories and this may mean that new graduates (or any library professional really) may need to work in an area that is not an ideal or first choice to gain some good basic experience or to even relocate to maximise the opportunities available to them.

I would advise new graduates to get some good CV and selection criteria training, and to make use of any ALIA or other networking or workshop opportunities.  I would suggest having simple business cards printed up, and to join LinkedIn. I would also recommend new graduates submitting their resumes to LIS and even general recruitment agencies.

2. How can ALIA help students and new graduates? For those in hiring positions what are the benefits of hiring new graduate LIS professionals?

Students and new grads are the future of the profession…. I joined ALIA as a student and it provided a great foundation of valuable information and contacts. That was over 20 years ago and the resources and contacts available today are even more extensive. Keeping student and new grad membership rates reasonable would also be helpful to attracting and retaining those coming to the profession.

Benefits.  In my experience the greatest benefits that new graduates bring to a workplace are a high sense of enthusiasm and energy together with an openness to learn.  I have also found that new graduates bring with them lots of good ideas , and they tend to have a more recent exposure to the literature –  new trend info, links to new sources and resources!

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?

Again ALIA has already done some good work in reviewing LIS education, skills and employment trends (see: https://alia.org.au/employment-and-careers/alia-lis-education-skills-and-employment-trend-report); but if I had to encapsulate a good foundation information and skill set for new graduates I would include:

  • An excellent theory foundation in information management with solid practicum experience
    High-level digital literacy skills
  • A solid understanding of metadata/access point/description functionality
  • Comfort in using and teaching others to use technology
    Engaging presentation and communication skills,
  • Flexibility and an openness to learn.

 

LIS professionals have one of the most applicable and transferable skill-sets of any profession.  If you look at all of the knowledge and skills articulated, they are valuable not just across our industry but across any industry that has information management and sharing at its core.

 

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?

It is rare to find a LIS professional who is not a lifelong learner or a lover of learning. Professional development is critical to staying ‘fresh’ and to maintaining and/or enhancing knowledge and skills.  Group-based PD also tends to offer valuable networking opportunities.   I support the idea of compulsory registration in terms of meeting and maintaining skills to a professional standard however it is very much a balance of cost (both in time and in funding), and I am conscious of those in different parts of the sector (e.g. teacher-librarians, and those working in small special libraries or one-person libraries, etc.) who don’t always have the resources to participate in continuous/compulsory professional development.  

5. What would you like to see the ALIA board achieve?

The short answer is that I would like to achieve great things for its members – which in turn will always benefit our broader work and personal communities. I am very keen to see the ALIA Board supporting initiatives that have value across as many of the library and information sectors as is possible. I look forward to an opportunity to further enhance ALIA’s support and contribution to our incredible industry.


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

ALIA board elections 2016: Malcolm O’Brien

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 Malcolm O’Brien.

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’d advise candidates to apply in rural areas. These libraries often have very diverse and interesting programmes that will provide great experience to graduates.

2. How can ALIA help students and new graduates? For those in hiring positions what are the benefits of hiring new graduate LIS professionals?

Continued training programmes, workshops and conferences.

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?

An understanding of digital platforms, content and applications.

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?

Introductions to new ideas and developments I would otherwise never have encountered.

5. What would you like to see the ALIA board achieve?

The acceptance and understanding by the majority of Australians that their library is a central part of the community they live in.


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

ALIA board elections: Kym Andrews

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 Kym Andrews.

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?

For new graduates, I believe it is very difficult and with the current economic restraints it has only become harder in the last few years.  There are more people competing for fewer positions, with librarians staying in positions for longer time frames.  

The state of the profession in general; I think it is an exciting time to be a librarian.  While change is sometimes frightening, the potential for the future of libraries and the opportunities of what we can achieve is limited only by our imagination and our drive. It’s not all bells and whistles and happy times.  It would be naïve to ignore those issues, but they are not what should dominate our discussions.

Advice for finding your first job… I read an article today which had a great statement as the headline.  “Sometimes talent is not enough”.  I thought that was a perfect statement.  My advice would be to get industry experience wherever you can. Participate in ALIA networking and training events.  Introduce yourself to librarians already in the industry and ask questions.  Take further courses and learn how to sell yourself and become confident in work situations. Use your friends and colleagues to review your CV. Take advantage of the mentoring programs available. Research the organisation, know what is expected of you in that position and sell yourself, and research and use appropriate key words in your interview.   It’s not easy (I still hate interviews) but the effort is worth it in the end.

2. How can ALIA help students and new graduates? For those in hiring positions what are the benefits of hiring new graduate LIS professionals?

When I think of ALIA I think it encompasses of all of us who are members of ALIA.  We all have a responsibility to students and new graduates.  The NGAC do a great job and I wish that the New Graduates symposium existed when I first started.  The ALIA mentoring program with the International Librarian Network is a great opportunity for students.  The CV review program that was offered by the New Grads group in WA was a fantastic option as sometime friends are not objective enough.  Offering ALIA events conducted by the numerous groups at a discounted price for students is also fantastic when finances are tight.  ALIA need to ensure that these opportunities are widely promoted to students. However, students need to be proactive in staying in touch and to take advantage of these opportunities.

The benefits of hiring a new graduate are many.  I was a new graduate once and extremely lucky that someone took a chance on me less than a month after I graduated.  I believe that the potential excellent benefits for hiring a new graduate include the following:

  • The overwhelming enthusiasm of a new graduate.  
  • The desire to learn everything and to do it right.  
  • The innovation and new ideas, and a belief in all opportunities.  
  • They are generally not jaded.  
  • Prepared to experiment with new technologies, to look at process/procedures with new ideas and ask ‘but why do it that way’ and not accept ‘because we’ve always done it that way’.  (To my first boss ‘B’.  I’m sorry, how exhausting I must have been for you!)

 

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?

The world we live in is changing at a fast past and it is imperative that Librarians stay abreast of what is happening in our industry and profession and to be prepared to learn new skills and pass them on in our workplace.

An essential skill I feel is lacking in our professional development is the ability to ‘sell’ our libraries.  I work in a special library and while I have clients who seek out the services of the library, others do not.  It is a simplistic version of what I do, but cold calling is a required skill.  In a wider aspect, there is an increased need for advocacy in our libraries and librarians need the ability to be that loud advocate our libraries require. FAIR do a fantastic job in the wider community, but individual librarians must be that advocate within their own organisation.

 

Technology is an ever changing beast. Librarians are good at staying abreast of these changes and we will continue the need to keep ahead of or at least level with the curve.  For example; writing code, I’m not saying I understand this or know how to do it, but the literature coming out is discussing  the need to introduce this into primary schools, libraries in the USA are offering these sessions. Librarians have to be prepared to say “I don’t know about this technology or app but I am prepared to find out “.

The term ‘librarian’ no longer means what it did 20 years ago.  People are working in libraries with drastically different roles and responsibility than the traditional concept of librarian. These skills reflect the diversity of our sector and could be easily transferable to other industries. A librarian qualification provides the basics for information inquiry, acquisition and organization. These skills are pivotal to so many areas.  How can we promote this to other industries?  ALIA could attend other industry conferences to promote library and information professionals and how we could be of great value to those industries. Utilise other professional associations and ensure they are aware of the skills and expertise our industry can offer theirs. It is also our own responsibility.  The paper presented by Kim Sherwin at ALIA Info Online 2015 showed a great example of getting industry to look at the library differently.

 

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?

The benefits for me have been many.  Networking is a large benefit.  While some who may know me may not believe this, socialising is occasionally difficult.  Going to professional development events allowed me to meet people in an environment where I was safe in my knowledge of what to talk about. Now it’s easier to attend social functions of any kind.  Don’t underestimate that skill.  PD events have also helped me to understand all those little things about librarianship that I didn’t learn at university.  My lack of understanding in the nitty gritty of council finances, wanting to do better for the staff members I was responsible for, led me to do a Grad Dip in Business Administration.  The best thing I could have done for my own growth.  

Should the Professional Development program be compulsory?  My personal view as it stands is yes.  It seems to be in our nature as librarians to stay in a position for long periods of time.  This isn’t a bad thing, but in a time of constant flux as our profession is at the moment, ensuring we are all aware of current issues, progress, innovation, is important and it perhaps avoids the potential of a stagnant workforce.  If we want librarians to be viewed as professionals by the wider community then having a PD program is a positive step.  However, I can see why we shouldn’t make it compulsory. Just because people are filling in required hours, doesn’t mean they are taking that information in and it could breed discontent.  Sometimes we have very busy lives, where we can’t complete our PD requirements.  In an industry where we are constantly being told our jobs are on the careers death list, fighting to stay relevant, PD events are one more stress we shouldn’t be adding to librarians.  I would like to know more before I make a definitive “yes” or “no”.

 

5. What would you like to see the ALIA board achieve?

 

I want ALIA to get a librarian nominated as Prime Minister, or someone who commits to $5 billion dollars over 5 years to libraries.  I want a national advertising campaign to rival the likes of Coca Cola on libraries!  Now back to reality.

I definitely would like to see the board continue its advocacy of libraries through FAIR.  I want the work on copyright changes to continue, to make it a fairer and a little easier to understand system within Australia.  I would like the board to become a little more inclusive.  For all librarians to feel some sort of connectivity to the organisation and that they feel there is a benefit to joining.  I think that ALIA needs to find a way to encourage more librarians to join ALIA, so that it can become a dynamic force and achieve whatever it sets out to achieve.


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