This submission addresses the question ‘What does the Asian century mean for Australia?’ It makes recommendations in two key areas: Australia’s knowledge of Asia, and ways of deepening engagement between Asia and Australia in the sphere of civil society in which library and information services are centred.
The aim of these guidelines is to provide benchmarks for an acceptable minimal level of service which can be used by all libraries in analysing the current level of service, in facilitating forward-planning and in developing strategies for more-effective services. It is recommended that these standards be regarded as minimum requirements and that, given the rapid developments in technology in this area, they be reviewed every two to three years.
The Australian Library and Information Association supports social inclusion and asserts that all Australians should therefore have access to the resources and services of a public library, regardless of their circumstances. Home library service users have the same rights as other library users and should receive an equal standard of service. The home library service should be a mainstream, integral, part of a public library service, with priority equal to other services of the library.
The challenge, particularly with a prescriptive document such as this, is to produce guidelines which are broad enough to encompass all health libraries but which detail an acceptable and achievable level of practice across those same libraries. To this end the Guidelines need to be flexible, adaptable and applicable irrespective of the size and makeup of any individual library service. It is hoped the fourth edition of the Guidelines for Australian Health Libraries achieves this desired outcome.
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Minimum Standard Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners provide guidance on the establishment, operation, and evaluation of library services to prisoners in Australia.
Use of volunteers in library and information services for specific purposes is acceptable but must never compromise the quality of service provision, nor replace paid employment in any way.
As the standards body for the library and information profession in Australia, the Australian Library and Information Association establishes the formal qualifications required as a basis for entry to the profession. It is vital therefore that the Association promote the principle that staff appointed to librarian and library technician positions hold qualifications appropriate to those positions. Where formal librarian or library technician qualifications are required for a particular position, this requirement should be articulated in the job description for the position.
People engaged in library and information services are members of a profession committed to intellectual freedom and the free flow of ideas and information.
This statement supports the following principle: freedom can be protected in a democratic society only if individuals have unrestricted access to information and ideas.
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is committed to the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats, and to providing enduring access to information.Its commitment is implemented by fostering and supporting collaboration among libraries and information services to ensure the preservation of, and access to, these records. ALIA supports new applications of technology following extensive testing which offer opportunities and tools for meeting the preservation obligation.