Tag Archives: Australian Library and Information Association

Australian Libraries and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Australian Libraries are ready to talk about the next steps to be seen as an active force in the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 in Australia and the Asian-Pacific region.  Led by Vicki McDonald, Chair, ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee who is also who is also IFLA Professional Committee Chair and member of the IFLA Governing Board some 20 library leaders and other representatives from the Federal Government came together at Australian Library Information Association (ALIA) House in Canberra on 23rd September, 2019.  This roundtable came together to debate stretch targets for the library sector to define and measure our actions.

The draft targets fit with the 17 SDG goals and 169 SDG targets and are divided into three sections:

  1. Priorities for Australian library services
  2. Contribution to society
  3. Global citizenship

As with the global goals, the draft library targets that are currently out for consultation are ambitious, yet achievable. The targets developed are designed to be measurable, using qualitative and quantitative methods, and by assessing impact. Importantly they are not new and all build on the existing library agenda.

The draft library targets also define the library sector’s role for each of the SDG goals and targets identified for our sector’s action.  The roles are fourfold.

  1. Advocacy: Libraries of all types have a voice and this action plan defines how Australian Libraries, our Associations and industry partners can raise our voice and be heard. Key pieces of legislation, open access initiatives, and raising the profile of the debate in areas such as copyright and open access are key measures.
  2. Service Delivery: there are key aspects of the SDG targets where libraries can directly make a substantial impact with their actions, which can be amplified with further guaranteed funding. Areas such as digital inclusion, access to information, increased digital presence, and digital access to collections are just a few.  The measures identified for this type of role include case studies, existing quantitive measures and identifies where the sector needs to gather new data.
  3. Research and Advocacy: Our sector needs to make the case for the impact of libraries to deliver benefits in all aspects of society. A key area identified for this research is school libraries and teacher librarians.  Making a case for their important and essential inclusion in the educational experience of young Australians is a priority.
  4. Management: For those SDG targets and actions identified where libraries are in control and deliver, the core role is defined as management. Here libraries can lead the way.  Whether it be in environmental sustainable practices, green design for new library buildings, increased collaboration, or cultural diversity and gender equity these are areas where the sector can lead.  Measures include existing data, case studies and showcasing best practice.

Using the indicators and measures described within each target, the intent is to create a statement of the starting point in 2020-2021, an interim position in 2024-2025 and a final position in 2029-2030.

SDG 17 is ‘partnerships for the goals.’ Cross-sector collaboration and partnerships are threaded through this discussion paper and new alliances will be identified as part of the next steps. Our sector will want to work with all three levels of the Australian government, including Arts, Education, Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade; with LIS associations in the region and globally; with GLAM (gallery, library, archives and museum) colleagues; with library suppliers; with LIS researchers and with agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australia Council for the Arts.

A discussion paper has been circulated to the library sector for comment until 3 January 2020.  All feedback will be analysed and an executive group of the ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee will produce confirmed stretch targets for the LIS sector with a report scheduled for publication by the end of March 2020.

Following this there will be an investigation into the current position in the LIS sector against the stretch targets, which is planned to be published in the third quarter of 2020 and will set the baseline for further measurement.   An action plan will also be developed and annual updates from 2021 onwards will be put in place.  It is expected that major reports will be published in 2025 and 2030 identifying where goals have been completed, where stretch targets are on track and where there is a need for increased focus. For more information and links to the reports and discussion paper see the ALIA website https://www.alia.org.au/advocacy-and-campaigns/think-global-act-local

So watch this space for more updates on how Australian Libraries are delivering on the SDGs.


Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer, Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Australia


Cooking for Copyright Day


FAIR (the campaign for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources) has announced Cooking for Copyright Day on Friday 31 July, using classic Aussie recipes for lamingtons, pavlovas, canteen biscuits and soldier cake tins to drive the copyright reform agenda.

The campaign focuses on the fact that in Australia copyright in published works lasts 70 years after the death of the creator, but for unpublished works, copyright lasts forever. This means old diaries, letters, photographs, even recipes are locked away.

National and State Libraries Australasia, the Australian War Memorial, University Libraries, Public Libraries, Archives and Historical Societies are all participating in the FAIR Cooking for Copyright campaign, developed by the Australian Library and Information Association in partnership with the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.

Sue McKerracher, spokesperson for FAIR, and CEO of the Australian Library and Information Association, said, ‘We’d like the same copyright terms for unpublished works as for published works. Then our libraries, museums and historical societies could put these treasures on the web for family historians, researchers, and everyone else who is fascinated by our social history.’

FAIR has delved into library and museum collections across Australia and posted more than 20 handwritten recipes to its website – effectively contravening the current copyright law. It’s asking Australians to cook one of these recipes – or choose an old favourite – and post a photo to Facebook or tweet with the #cookingforcopyright hashtag.

Sue McKerracher again, ‘We will put all the images together, create a buzz on social media, and deliver them to the Attorney General, who has the unenviable task of unravelling the current copyright regime.’

Public Library Advocacy in the US and Australia


Often it takes everyday people to really bring issues home to local legislators. That’s the thinking behind the American Library Association’s Ilovelibraries.org initiative.

One of the features on the Ilovelibraries.org site is a library value calculator (What’s your library worth?) that visitors can use to determine how much they would pay for library materials and services if they actually had to buy them. Categories like the number of e-books downloaded, computer hours logged, and database searches conducted are included in the calculation.

The calculator, like most of the resources available on the site, is designed to help support ALA’s position that libraries remain relevant and much-needed information centres for local communities.

A key section of the Ilovelibraries.org site is dedicated to “real stories.” The site makes it easy FOR users to share their stories online by just clicking on the photo that asks, “Has the library made a difference in your life? Tell us your story.”

ALA believes the overall success of the initiative rests on its ability to continue to engage everyday advocates.



Meanwhile the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has launched FAIR which campaigns for a fair, open and democratic society where information belongs to everyone.

FAIR stands for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources.

It will lobby for a series of issues including well funded libraries, copyright law reform, the digitisation of our history, evidence-based policy making, lifelong learning and qualified library staff in schools.

ALIA created FAIR to give people a way to actively support all kinds of libraries including public, TAFE, university, health, law, business, government as well as our National and State Libraries.

FAIR enables people to show their support for the FAIR issues and will help secure the future for libraries.




ebooks and elending – the myths and misconceptions?


The Australian Library and Information Association has just released the Comparison of ebooks and elending in Australian Public Libraries 2013 v 2014  report. This report provides a snapshot of the situation in Australian public libraries in January 2013 and May 2014 and is essential reading for all public library colleagues. Here you will find some great factual responses to the common misconceptions about the new library age.

e-lending Landscape Report Released


In December 2013, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) commissioned Brussels-based Civic Agenda to produce a worldwide e-lending landscape report, identifying public library-led initiatives to secure ebooks for borrowers. The report is now available.

This report is the latest step in a project, delivered in collaboration with the National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), that has involved think tanks held around Australia; formal discussions with library leaders, including the ALIA ebooks and elending reference group, and the publication of a series of papers on the ALIA website .

These activities have helped move the conversation with other book industry stakeholders forward, but Australian public libraries continue to experience great difficulty in obtaining ebooks for elending and finding a platform that will meet the desired criteria:

  • A secure, trusted repository that contains ebooks from the big publishers, as well as from authors direct, and from local publishers
  • Content procured at a fair price
  • Providing access to local history content
  • Library branded
  • Providing content that can be accessed from all sorts of devices
  • With a clever discovery layer
  • The options of loan or buy

This landscape report on elending platform developments internationally is intended to help identify practical solutions for Australian public libraries.

For more information about the ALIA ebooks and elending project, please visit our website or email advocacy@alia.org.au.

Happy Library Lovers’ Day!


Forget Valentine’s Day, across Australia 14 February has been re-named Library Lovers’ Day! This provides an opportunity to celebrate those who love and support libraries and to remind decision makers how loved and cherished libraries are by the entire community. Maybe you could introduce Library Lovers’ Day into your community in 2015. Not everyone receives flowers on Valentines Day but everyone is welcome at their local public library.


Library Celebrations in February

Already January is disappearing fast and February is almost upon us with two big library celebrations that we’re aware of (we’d love to hear of any others).


In the United Kingdom on Saturday 8 February they’ll be celebrating National Libraries Day, a culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries across the UK. The website has some great ideas and inspiring stories.

lld small

For many people 14 Febrarury signals Valentine’s Day but in Australia it’s also Library Lovers Day!, a day for everyone to share their  love of  libraries. Not everyone receives flowers or chocolates on 14 February but everyone can enjoy their library.