Adelaide is a beautiful city. The Board members of the Australian Library and Information Association was fortunate to meet on 4 August in such a lovely place. The activities started with a bang with Mary Ellis winning the South Australian Library Achiever of the Year award (for details of the award see http://www.alia.org.au/awards/merit/sa.laoty/).
Mary is an outstanding library and community worker, whose work redeveloping the community information for Onkaparinga, the largest council in South Australia has led to significant improvements for the community (http://www.alia.org.au/awards/merit/sa.laoty/mary.html). Mary, and her colleagues, have used new technology to enable those in the community to access 1300 community information resources, through the database, training across the Library and broader Council staffs and promotion in the community. Congratulations to Mary and her colleagues, all who were nominated, the South Australian ALIA Group for the event and Raeco for their support and sponsorship.
At the ALIA Board meeting on the following day we discussed many issues and a full report will appear shortly. In the meantime, I thought it would be useful to highlight three major areas of discussion. Our first major item was the review of ALIA's advisory committees and representatives. ALIA is a strong organisation because of the work done by many individuals through advisory committees and representational roles and these have not been reviewed since the new ALIA structure was put in place in 2000. While many groups are working well addressing issues of important to members, some have completed their activities and wished to cease. The review has resulted in some recommendations for changes to the By-laws, and some areas where it was clear that ALIA has not articulated what is wants and serious consideration of the area s required – particularly in international relations and public libraries. The Board also met with the Public Libraries Australia Board to discuss how the current cooperative relationships should develop.
The Board also discussed the National Advisory Congress for 2007, which will focus on the issues of Education and Workforce planning. Interestingly, these were key topics at the Public Libraries Australia Conference over the following two days. Australia as a whole is facing the prospect or a serious reduction in new entrants to the workforce. Many librarians will be retiring over the next decade and we do not yet have an understanding of the numbers or skills required by the profession (including library technicians) for the next 2, 5 or 10 years. Research is essential to develop this, and then to develop a strategy to ensure there is a pool of appropriately skilled people ready to take up the positions as they fall vacant. For Education a background paper will cover:
Skills and capabilities that are needed by employers;
Scope of the library and information science sector;
Qualification issues; and
What role ALIA should play.
It should be a very importance and dynamic series of discussions through the Congress meetings in 2007 and I encourage you to attend – see http://www.alia.org.au/governance/nac/2007/ for further information.
Finally congratulations to Jane Gordon and Trevor Wakely who were appointed to the By-laws Committee.