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Beyond the library: library professionals working in diverse emerging roles

ALIA National 2022 Conference, 16 May - 19 May 2022 Canberra: Diversity
 
Session description: Library professionals have traditionally worked within a library setting and often in roles with the explicit job title of librarian. Beyond traditional library roles, there are diverse emerging roles and job titles ideally suited to the knowledge, skills and experiences of library professionals. Library professionals are utilising their skills to gain employment in roles as diverse as technologists, user experience designers and knowledge managers. This paper will explore the extent to which Australian library professionals are already working in diverse roles which draw on their library and information professional skill set. It will examine the various pathways which library professionals have taken to move into such roles and their motivation for taking a career path beyond libraries. It will consider how traditional library and information professionals' knowledge, skills and attributes can be adapted to such emerging roles and the ongoing identification of people in these roles with the library profession. Finally, it will consider what the increasing diversity of roles available to library professionals might mean for the wider profession.
 
 
 
 

Revealing the activities of the Methodist Missionary Society through film

ALIA National 2022 Conference, 16 May - 19 May 2022 Canberra: Diversity
 
Session description: Over the past 10 years the State Library of NSW has undertaken a massive digital preservation project including a focus on the Library’s moving image collections. More than 250 film and video collections have been identified for digitisation, using uniqueness, significance, physical condition and playback equipment obsolescence as criteria for selection. The records of the Sydney-based Methodist Missionary Society (MMS) of Australasia were deposited with the Mitchell Library in the early 1950s with further additions over time. The organisation later became known as the Methodist Overseas Mission. Their extensive collection includes over 300 manuscript boxes, photographs, slides, negatives, and 159 film reels. The Methodist Missionary Society of Australasia set up a number of Missions in the North of Australia from 1916. Their mission at Milingimbi Island, among the Yolngu people of Eastern Arnhem Land, was begun in 1923 and continued operating up to 1974. In 1961, the work of the MMS at Milingimbi was featured in the Society's commissioned film Faces in the Sun. The documentary highlighted the experiences of four different communities in the Northern Territory. Directed by Cecil Holmes, Faces in the Sun, like many of the films produced by the MMS, is an insight into the Stolen Generations era. Other documentaries produced by the MMS include titles such as Man Dark No More (1953) and Man of Two Worlds (1965). They were of course proselytising Christianity but also reflected the Australian Government’s assimilationist policies. There are projection prints and second-generation copies of this film scattered in various libraries around the country. However, the first-generation original master material held, and now digitised, by the Library, is a unique and valuable record that captures the high-quality detail of the director’s original intent. As well as documenting an important time in the history of the Northern Territory and Australia.
 
 
 
 

ALIA Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan: July 2022 - June 2024

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is committed to reconciliation in Australia. Respect for the diversity and individuality of all people is one of ALIA’s core values, and diversity has been selected by ALIA President, Vicki Edmunds as her Presidential theme for the years 2021-2023. ALIA’s Strategic Plan 2021-2024 has identified a priority action to ‘support a resilient, diverse workforce: attracting and developing talented, committed individuals from different cultural backgrounds, who will have the strength and agility to navigate a rapidly changing workplace.’ ALIA’s Innovate RAP will champion the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the Presidential theme and also help to develop libraries’ role as culturally safe spaces.
 
ALIA’s commitment to developing the first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan was confirmed by the development of a Working Group in February 2019 which has guided the development of the ALIA RAP. The Working Group champions all aspects of the RAP internally and, in 2022, consists of seven ALIA staff members along with the Indigenous Curator of the National Library of Australia. 

Guidelines for Australian health libraries, 5th edition 2022

The Guidelines for Australian Health Libraries (the Guidelines), provide a framework for health librarians to deliver the best possible health library and information services to their clients. 
 
The fifth edition of the Guidelines builds on the solid base of previous versions, retaining the same four broad Guideline Areas, divided into more specific criteria against which individual libraries may be assessed. This edition contains a number of important revisions and improvements.
 
These Guidelines replace Guidelines for Australian health libraries 4th edition.

ALIA national library and information technicians' symposium 2015: conference program

National Library and Information Technicians' Symposium 2 - 4 September 2015: Hobart, Tasmania. 
 
Theme: RIGHT HERE – RIGHT NOW: It’s a Devil of a time in libraries.
 
Delivering library services in a technology connected world, providing services to a society with a ‘Want it here – Need it now’ expectation.
 
What are the challenges for the Library Technician in ensuring that their library remains relevant and viable in an age of ever changing technology, expectations and the priorities of their Institutions?
 
Library Technicians have an opportunity to play key roles in maintaining the relevancy of their institutional library, as well as assisting in its growth and evolution in an ever changing world.
 
The symposium will provide an opportunity for library technicians from around Australia to meet together in the formal setting of a structured program, to hear prominent members of the profession, as well as their peers, speak and debate contemporary issues relating to the profession, professionalism and library work in general. In addition, there will be many opportunities for networking including the symposium dinner, opening and closing events and daily breaks as well as the opportunity for networking at the ad hoc gatherings that this event supports and encourages.

A Devil of a Challenge – Introduction of RFID Technology

Abstract:
 
Some would say living in North Queensland with 90% humidity, raging cyclones, swimming with deadly jellyfish and crocodiles is challenging, yet this is nothing compared to leading staff through major cultural, operational and organisational change.
 
CityLibraries Townsville made the decision in 2012 to join the 170+ libraries across Australia and New Zealand to liberate ourselves from out dated technology and implement RFID. Evolving with the times staff were destined for a 100% self-service model accompanied by a transitional period of uncertainty and culture shock. What did this mean for us? A bumpy road where the leadership team worked tirelessly to support library staff in the movement from a role defined by transactions to a role centred on interactions with customers.
 
How did we manage and cope with this? Forget the managers’ perspective, this paper will tell you what it’s really like leading front line staff through the challenging and opportunistic transformation whilst keeping morale high and the library functioning beyond its current capability. For the customers it would be a game changer, with a proven record for enhancing the service to maximise productivity gains resulting in staff having time to assist with the rapid growth in demand for digital technology and the delivery of more services and programs to the community. Leading by example required each and every one of us to commit to new behaviours and new habits for the transition to 100% self-service. As Team Leaders, we were the first port of call for concerns from the front line staff proving that we as Library and Information Technicians more than ever must be the “devil” to tame the beasts and lead staff through an ever changing and demanding world in libraries.

A Devil of a Challenge – Introduction of RFID Technology [slides]

Abstract:
 
Some would say living in North Queensland with 90% humidity, raging cyclones, swimming with deadly jellyfish and crocodiles is challenging, yet this is nothing compared to leading staff through major cultural, operational and organisational change.
 
CityLibraries Townsville made the decision in 2012 to join the 170+ libraries across Australia and New Zealand to liberate ourselves from out dated technology and implement RFID. Evolving with the times staff were destined for a 100% self-service model accompanied by a transitional period of uncertainty and culture shock. What did this mean for us? A bumpy road where the leadership team worked tirelessly to support library staff in the movement from a role defined by transactions to a role centred on interactions with customers.
 
How did we manage and cope with this? Forget the managers’ perspective, this paper will tell you what it’s really like leading front line staff through the challenging and opportunistic transformation whilst keeping morale high and the library functioning beyond its current capability. For the customers it would be a game changer, with a proven record for enhancing the service to maximise productivity gains resulting in staff having time to assist with the rapid growth in demand for digital technology and the delivery of more services and programs to the community. Leading by example required each and every one of us to commit to new behaviours and new habits for the transition to 100% self-service. As Team Leaders, we were the first port of call for concerns from the front line staff proving that we as Library and Information Technicians more than ever must be the “devil” to tame the beasts and lead staff through an ever changing and demanding world in libraries.

A perfect fit! Tailoring IT teaching to your community

Abstract:
Public libraries today face the challenge of educating and bridging the knowledge gaps of those patrons in their communities who have limited experience with information technology, and few related skills. Connecting people with information, fostering digital skills in the community, and enabling participation in online environments have become core functions of the library. These functions, which are lacking in other public and private spaces, are increasingly relied upon by library users to socialise, develop themselves and conduct their business.
 
A lack of basic IT skills and familiarities can result in frustration, depression and feelings of helplessness with respect to the use of computers. At Cambridge Library, the Digital Services Team (two library technicians and me) first provided small group classes teaching library clients basic computer skills. On review it became apparent that the students attending had such diverse needs that a group teaching program was no longer the most effective option. To provide a better service to library clients, we developed a specialised IT teaching program in which we tailor one on one classes to each individual's needs.
 
My paper will outline why these tailored IT teaching classes can be the best option for community libraries, the strategies our team used to research, structure and implement our teaching program, and how the team manages and resources the program on a day-to-day basis. The paper will provide a model, or blueprint for the design and implementation of such a program in other public libraries.

A perfect fit! Tailoring IT teaching to your community [slides]

Abstract:
Public libraries today face the challenge of educating and bridging the knowledge gaps of those patrons in their communities who have limited experience with information technology, and few related skills. Connecting people with information, fostering digital skills in the community, and enabling participation in online environments have become core functions of the library. These functions, which are lacking in other public and private spaces, are increasingly relied upon by library users to socialise, develop themselves and conduct their business.
 
A lack of basic IT skills and familiarities can result in frustration, depression and feelings of helplessness with respect to the use of computers. At Cambridge Library, the Digital Services Team (two library technicians and me) first provided small group classes teaching library clients basic computer skills. On review it became apparent that the students attending had such diverse needs that a group teaching program was no longer the most effective option. To provide a better service to library clients, we developed a specialised IT teaching program in which we tailor one on one classes to each individual's needs.
 
My paper will outline why these tailored IT teaching classes can be the best option for community libraries, the strategies our team used to research, structure and implement our teaching program, and how the team manages and resources the program on a day-to-day basis. The paper will provide a model, or blueprint for the design and implementation of such a program in other public libraries.

Cataloguing standards are evolving – still

Abstract:
 
Just when you thought you had your cataloguing standards all under control, there’s a new development lurking in the wings … BIBFRAME.
 
Two years ago, the cataloguing community embraced Resource Description and Access (RDA) as a new cataloguing standard. The dust is settling, workflows have evolved to accommodate RDA standards; Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) has been adapted to carry RDA data and library management systems have been updated.
 
Meanwhile, the Library of Congress has been working on the Bibliographic Framework Initiative, BIBFRAME. BIBFRAME is being developed to replace MARC as the standard to represent and exchange bibliographic data in the digital information environment. In conjunction with RDA, BIBFRAME will ensure that bibliographic data is able to integrate with and engage in the wider information community.
 
This paper will raise awareness of BIBFRAME, explaining its underpinning concepts and explore the benefits and implications for resource discovery systems and standards. BIBFRAME is still under development, but it up to everyone who is interested in resource discovery to be aware of what is happening. By being informed, all information workers can be a part of the evolving cataloguing and information discovery landscape.

Cataloguing standards are evolving – still [slides]

Abstract:
 
Just when you thought you had your cataloguing standards all under control, there’s a new development lurking in the wings … BIBFRAME.
 
Two years ago, the cataloguing community embraced Resource Description and Access (RDA) as a new cataloguing standard. The dust is settling, workflows have evolved to accommodate RDA standards; Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) has been adapted to carry RDA data and library management systems have been updated.
 
Meanwhile, the Library of Congress has been working on the Bibliographic Framework Initiative, BIBFRAME. BIBFRAME is being developed to replace MARC as the standard to represent and exchange bibliographic data in the digital information environment. In conjunction with RDA, BIBFRAME will ensure that bibliographic data is able to integrate with and engage in the wider information community.
 
This paper will raise awareness of BIBFRAME, explaining its underpinning concepts and explore the benefits and implications for resource discovery systems and standards. BIBFRAME is still under development, but it up to everyone who is interested in resource discovery to be aware of what is happening. By being informed, all information workers can be a part of the evolving cataloguing and information discovery landscape.

Maybe libraries need to employ marketers

Abstract:
 
“Maybe libraries need to employ marketers #alialibtech13”
 
This paper will address a tweet posted on 30 October 2013 which drew a range of responses (both on and offline) about the place of marketing in libraries. It will provide a brief overview of key concepts of services marketing as they apply to the library and hospitality sectors. A variety of operational models will be considered with attention to the University of Tasmania (UTAS) model of calling for expressions of interest from all levels of the library. The author will draw on experiences in this and other industries to demonstrate surprising similarities between a Tasmanian vineyard and an academic library.

Maybe libraries need to employ marketers [slides]

Abstract:
 
“Maybe libraries need to employ marketers #alialibtech13”
 
This paper will address a tweet posted on 30 October 2013 which drew a range of responses (both on and offline) about the place of marketing in libraries. It will provide a brief overview of key concepts of services marketing as they apply to the library and hospitality sectors. A variety of operational models will be considered with attention to the University of Tasmania (UTAS) model of calling for expressions of interest from all levels of the library. The author will draw on experiences in this and other industries to demonstrate surprising similarities between a Tasmanian vineyard and an academic library.

eRebel with a cause: My journey from library technician student to eservices specialist

It certainly is a devil of a time in libraries! Over the last three decades the rapid advancement of Internet Communication Technologies (ICT) has radically transformed the way we live, work, play, communicate, think and learn. These changes have impacted greatly on libraries, threatening the traditional concept of the library. Libraries face a myriad of challenges in an ongoing quest to meet the incessantly changing learning and social needs of their communities.
 
In order to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced, information driven world, of which people are time-poor and source instant gratification, library and information services need to engage library users in both physical and online spaces. How do we ‘wow’ customers and attract new clients?
 
In a library career spanning 15 years, passion, dedication and enthusiasm have been my key to achievement and success. My passion for my work and libraries has taken me on an incredible professional journey. This paper shares that journey - the highlights, the challenges and those serendipity moments.
 
It may be a devil of a time in libraries, however, it is professional passion that drives results in engaging library users, connecting communities and making a difference. Passionate library staff and engaged users is a win-win situation for 21st century libraries.

eRebel with a cause: My journey from library technician student to eservices specialist [slides]

It certainly is a devil of a time in libraries! Over the last three decades the rapid advancement of Internet Communication Technologies (ICT) has radically transformed the way we live, work, play, communicate, think and learn. These changes have impacted greatly on libraries, threatening the traditional concept of the library. Libraries face a myriad of challenges in an ongoing quest to meet the incessantly changing learning and social needs of their communities.
 
In order to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced, information driven world, of which people are time-poor and source instant gratification, library and information services need to engage library users in both physical and online spaces. How do we ‘wow’ customers and attract new clients?
 
In a library career spanning 15 years, passion, dedication and enthusiasm have been my key to achievement and success. My passion for my work and libraries has taken me on an incredible professional journey. This paper shares that journey - the highlights, the challenges and those serendipity moments.
 
It may be a devil of a time in libraries, however, it is professional passion that drives results in engaging library users, connecting communities and making a difference. Passionate library staff and engaged users is a win-win situation for 21st century libraries.

The devil’s in the detail – operating a 24x7 library

Abstract:
Curtin University clients have been interested for many years in the Library providing more access to the physical building along with services. In 2013 the Library building underwent a major refurbishment to cater for these needs. Once complete it was possible to position the Library towards a stage by stage progressive journey to a 24x7 model. At the beginning of 2015 we have achieved what was once considered unattainable, a Library open 24 hours a day.
 
This presentation follows the journey from the traditional Full Service model to the flexible 24x7 Limited Services model in use today and highlights the opportunities and challenges faced, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive reception.
 
When considering the changes necessary to achieve our objective we had to take into account the issues of an aging building; the staffing considerations (who, what, when, where and why) and also the traditional mindsets of what a library is there for.
 
While the student experience is providing an environment conducive to their study needs, casual spaces to relax and recharge are also available. Library staff support their overnight needs and a security officer provides the safe and secure surrounds.
 
Over the last 18 months we have implemented and reviewed our model, and while it will be ever evolving we think that we have achieved best practice.

The devil’s in the detail – operating a 24x7 library [slides]

Abstract:
 
Curtin University clients have been interested for many years in the Library providing more access to the physical building along with services. In 2013 the Library building underwent a major refurbishment to cater for these needs. Once complete it was possible to position the Library towards a stage by stage progressive journey to a 24x7 model. At the beginning of 2015 we have achieved what was once considered unattainable, a Library open 24 hours a day.
 
This presentation follows the journey from the traditional Full Service model to the flexible 24x7 Limited Services model in use today and highlights the opportunities and challenges faced, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive reception.
 
When considering the changes necessary to achieve our objective we had to take into account the issues of an aging building; the staffing considerations (who, what, when, where and why) and also the traditional mindsets of what a library is there for.
 
While the student experience is providing an environment conducive to their study needs, casual spaces to relax and recharge are also available. Library staff support their overnight needs and a security officer provides the safe and secure surrounds.
 
Over the last 18 months we have implemented and reviewed our model, and while it will be ever evolving we think that we have achieved best practice.

Library technicians and technical services in Queensland Government libraries

Abstract:
 
This paper aims to look at the changes within the Queensland Government library sector which have come about due to service and staffing cuts taking place in and around 2012.
 
In early 2012 library technicians were well represented in Government and special libraries in Queensland, until staffing cuts took positions in all areas and levels of government. Amongst others, library staff were identified as ‘non-frontline’ and cuts to library staffing and services were undertaken as cost saving measures.
 
By the end of 2012 all Queensland Government libraries had changed; some libraries closed and close to half the library staff were made redundant.
 
This paper will briefly examine staffing data before and after the redundancies of 2012. It will identify the changes which occurred in business models, services, tasks and responsibilities of remaining staff which influenced the staffing structures we see today.
 
Specific examples of the Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS) library will be provided, including the changes for the role of our library technician and the value she has brought to the organisation and to the business unit.
 
Data and information from other Queensland Government libraries in this paper have come from informal interviews with library managers and government staff, anecdotal evidence and a short survey regarding staffing. This paper does not intend to provide a view of the current situation within Queensland Government libraries. The focus of the paper is the changes which occurred in the FSS library and how we evolved to maintain a relatively reasonable workload and a level of service which is appropriate for our clients and one which will hopefully see us into the future.

Library technicians and technical services in Queensland Government libraries [slides]

Abstract:
 
This paper aims to look at the changes within the Queensland Government library sector which have come about due to service and staffing cuts taking place in and around 2012.
 
In early 2012 library technicians were well represented in Government and special libraries in Queensland, until staffing cuts took positions in all areas and levels of government. Amongst others, library staff were identified as ‘non-frontline’ and cuts to library staffing and services were undertaken as cost saving measures.
 
By the end of 2012 all Queensland Government libraries had changed; some libraries closed and close to half the library staff were made redundant.
 
This paper will briefly examine staffing data before and after the redundancies of 2012. It will identify the changes which occurred in business models, services, tasks and responsibilities of remaining staff which influenced the staffing structures we see today.
 
Specific examples of the Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS) library will be provided, including the changes for the role of our library technician and the value she has brought to the organisation and to the business unit.
 
Data and information from other Queensland Government libraries in this paper have come from informal interviews with library managers and government staff, anecdotal evidence and a short survey regarding staffing. This paper does not intend to provide a view of the current situation within Queensland Government libraries. The focus of the paper is the changes which occurred in the FSS library and how we evolved to maintain a relatively reasonable workload and a level of service which is appropriate for our clients and one which will hopefully see us into the future.

Charles Sturt University Library – “Anywhere, Anytime”

Abstract:
 
Advancements in technology and changing patron needs have generated serious reassessment by libraries of the services that they provide. The use of library resources has seen a considerable change in trends, with a growing number of users opting to use the virtual collection in preference to the physical collection. Recent Charles Sturt University surveys revealed that students overwhelmingly chose online resources as their preferred approach to research and study. This data reinforces that demand for online material from CSU Library users must be met, resulting in a reduction in the print collection. Along with this, the majority of users have embraced the option for virtual support and a consequent decline in the number of patrons seeking assistance at the circulation desk has been noted. Driven by a large cohort of distance education students the demand for help through services such as online chat sessions has required extensive staff training and technological upgrades to ensure that these popular means of communication are maintained.
 
This paper looks at how Charles Sturt University Library has addressed the challenges of providing a “right here, right now” library service and increased patron demand for the Library’s virtual services, by restructuring existing staff roles and creating new flexible Library Officer positions whose responsibilities include circulation, document delivery, virtual support, online resource maintenance and development. Initiatives such as the recent merger of the Access and Information Services sections, now under the umbrella of ‘Information Services’, has brought new opportunities for staff development; an evolution that is vital to ensure we uphold our reputation as an innovative, competitive and respected institution. Although some would regard this progression as a “devil of a time in libraries”, our purpose remains the same, which is to deliver streamlined and efficient access to information.

Charles Sturt University Library – “Anywhere, Anytime” [slides]

Abstract:
 
Advancements in technology and changing patron needs have generated serious reassessment by libraries of the services that they provide. The use of library resources has seen a considerable change in trends, with a growing number of users opting to use the virtual collection in preference to the physical collection. Recent Charles Sturt University surveys revealed that students overwhelmingly chose online resources as their preferred approach to research and study. This data reinforces that demand for online material from CSU Library users must be met, resulting in a reduction in the print collection. Along with this, the majority of users have embraced the option for virtual support and a consequent decline in the number of patrons seeking assistance at the circulation desk has been noted. Driven by a large cohort of distance education students the demand for help through services such as online chat sessions has required extensive staff training and technological upgrades to ensure that these popular means of communication are maintained.
 
This paper looks at how Charles Sturt University Library has addressed the challenges of providing a “right here, right now” library service and increased patron demand for the Library’s virtual services, by restructuring existing staff roles and creating new flexible Library Officer positions whose responsibilities include circulation, document delivery, virtual support, online resource maintenance and development. Initiatives such as the recent merger of the Access and Information Services sections, now under the umbrella of ‘Information Services’, has brought new opportunities for staff development; an evolution that is vital to ensure we uphold our reputation as an innovative, competitive and respected institution. Although some would regard this progression as a “devil of a time in libraries”, our purpose remains the same, which is to deliver streamlined and efficient access to information.

Need for read

Article from INCITE September/October 2022 Volume 43 Issue 5.
 
Interview with Rebecca Young and Heath McKenzie, author and illustrator of The Speedy Sloth. The Speedy Sloth has been selected as ALIA's National Simultaneous Storytime book in 2023.

ALIA Professional Pathways: School Libraries Research Project Report

As part of the Professional Pathways Initiative, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) commissioned research in November 2021 to address the specialised needs of school libraries within the context of ALIA’s vision for developing a professional pathways framework.
 
The purpose of this project was to ensure that library and information professionals working in school libraries are clearly differentiated, appropriately qualified through relevant, contemporary course content, and able to access appropriate and recognised continuing professional development wherever they are in Australia, through their state association and through national providers.
 
The School Libraries Research Project Report addresses the nature and demographics of employee groups in Australian school libraries; existing qualifications and education pathways; the knowledge, skills, and competencies required of school library employees; ethics and professionalism within the context of school libraries; and continuing professional development. It concludes with a summary of key findings and a set of five recommendations.
 

School Libraries Support the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sometimes called the Global Goals, or the United Nations 2030 Agenda, are a shared vision for peace, prosperity, and the protection of the planet. At the heart of the SDGs are 17 goals, each of which is an urgent call to action for the realisation of a better world.
 
Libraries are uniquely positioned in relation to the SDGs, as by providing meaningful and equitable access to information, they have the potential to support all 17 of the goals. Through providing young people with the possibility and skills to make the most of information. School libraries play a significant role in contributing to and raising awareness of the goals.
 
This document is designed to be a practical guide, providing information, suggestions and resources on how Australian school libraries can support each of the Sustainable Development Goals now and into the future.

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