Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Library Day in the Life

I have started this post late in the week as I took a day's leave on Monday and Tuesday was a public holiday in Australia.

A day in the life of a parliamentary library is interesting indeed. The Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Australasia web site notes:

Access to impartial, current, accurate and timely information is fundamental to democratic legislatures. In their legislative and their representative roles, parliamentarians need information as they monitor current issues, develop policy solutions and influence government decision-making.

Parliamentarians are increasingly time-poor and the parliamentary library assists them by providing:

· tailored and confidential answers to specific questions by Members;
· access to expert staff;
· research papers, or briefings, which include analysis of topical issues and Bills before Parliament;
· 24/7 electronic access to relevant information resources and collections including news and current affairs.

Parliamentary libraries may also offer research support to Parliamentary Committees; and information and knowledge management services to Parliament.

What does this mean for my day? On Wednesday it included training a new client and encouraging them to learn about the wide range of services available from the parliamentary library. Because the analytic services are very different it is great to discuss what can, and cannot be done. Parliament is an overwhelming place in terms of the pace and range of issues and the library can help clients pace themselves. Communicating the range of services in a way that isn’t overwhelming is quite a task and we assign every new client a contact officer for the first couple of years to be their usher through the information landscape. It’s a program that works well.

Another major issue for this week si projects that will make is easier and quicker for clients (and the public) to access information. Focus groups for the next Parliament of Australia website are underway and great ideas about. Thanks to an excellent project manager the wide diversity of views of special users groups and the public are being collected well.

Undoubtedly the highlight of my week will be talking to new library and information students at Charles Sturt University on Friday and Saturday. More later.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Government libraries essential for an effective public sector

The ALIA submission to Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration is now online. See

Government information helps to educate people, stimulate progress and solve complex economic, scientific and social problems. With many new technologies, however, government information has expanded so quickly that basic principles regarding its creation, use and dissemination are in danger of being neglected and even forgotten.

This submission highlights three major issues:
  • the importance of libraries and information centres in assisting high quality policy advice and service delivery,
  • the need for whole of government approaches to information for an efficient and effective public service and
  • the need to make government information widely available with web 2.0 technology to enable a high level of citizen participation in policy development a service delivery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Library Day in the Life

Ready to start the year with a bang? Take part in Round 4 of the Library Day in the Life Project beginning January 25th 2010.

Whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library. Join us by sharing details of your day for a week on your blog...

Any one who works in a library can participate. You may share your day (or week) on your blog, Twitter, Flickr and/or YouTube (or any other way you choose. If you have none of these don't worry, just create a new page in the wiki and post your day there.