ALIA National 2022 Conference, 16 May - 19 May 2022 Canberra: Diversity
This conference paper discusses the efforts made, outcomes achieved and lessons learned from Wollongong City Libraries' Workforce Planning Project.
Abstract: The ALIA Strategic Plan 2020-24 prioritises the need for a diverse workforce. ALIA has demonstrated its commitment 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.’ Similarly, Wollongong City Libraries (WCL) is currently undertaking workforce planning to attract a skilled, diverse and dynamic workforce among other objectives. WCL would like to share an overview of the efforts made, outcomes achieved and lessons learned from the workforce planning process with the ALIA community in May 2022. The City of Wollongong is a Local Government Area (LGA) in the Illawarra region about 80km south of Sydney and is the third-largest city in New South Wales. It was originally inhabited by the Dharawal people and today is home to nearly a quarter of a million people. According to the data in Our Wollongong 2028 Community Strategic Plan: • 2.6% of the population identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. • 20% were born overseas in countries like the UK, China, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Italy and New Zealand, and 78% of the population only spoke English at home. • The city’s population is ageing with consistent growth in the proportion of people aged 50 years and over. • 29.0% of households earned a low income ($0 to $750 per week). • Of people aged 15 and over, 13.1% reported having completed Year 12 as their highest level of educational attainment, 28.1% had completed a Certificate III-Advanced Diploma and 17.4% had completed a university qualification. WCL is undergoing workforce planning as part of an ongoing cycle of continuous imrovement as the environment and business changes. There are four objectives relevant to workforce diversity: • Address the changing role of libraries, offering contemporary library services and practices; • Create structure that best supports delivery of our future functions; • Create a workforce with the capabilities and attributes we need for the future; and • Develop processes so that we attract, develop and sustain a skilled, diverse and dynamic workforce that can achieve the service outcomes we are committed to. In 2020-21, concrete actions have been taken towards creating a more diverse workforce: • Attracting and hiring professionals with specialist skillsets and attributes regardless of a lack of experience in libraries. In 2021, an educator with project management experience was appointed in a new role Project Leader Learning City, and an Education and Experience Coordinator from the University of Wollongong was awarded the role of Librarian – Programs and Events. • In 2021 a targeted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traineeship role was established and promoted through a local Aboriginal employment agency. The recruitment • In 2020 a young person with autism was appointed as a casual Library Assistant through a strong partnership with a local school that offers a range of services to support children on the autism spectrum. WCL would like to share the outcomes and lessons learned from the workforce planning process and promote discussion around creating a more diverse workforce in Australian libraries.