Creating a national voice for Australian libraries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

53 Downloads (Pure)


The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has embarked on a
lobbying and advocacy project (2009-2012), which addresses two
fundamental issues – firstly, the need to speak with a united voice to
government, and secondly, the importance of focus.

Libraries tend to dwell on the factors which separate us, rather than those
which unite us. Lobbying and advocacy requires a different way of thinking,
because together, we are so much stronger and can influence government
more effectively.

Libraries contribute to many government priorities – literacy, education, health,
e-government, digital citizenship, social inclusion, economic vibrancy and
innovation. Instead of dissipating our energy by chasing every lobbying
opportunity, we need to focus on a few areas where we can clearly
demonstrate a high level of impact. The rest will follow.

Looking at overseas models (most notably in the UK and US), ALIA has
identified successful strategies and adopted four key areas of focus.
Research is underpinning an exciting new approach that has already provided
the association with a ‘seat at the table’ in Parliament House, Canberra.
The first ALIA Public Libraries Summit took place in July 2009. Quantitative
data and qualitative information, expressed directly to Ministers and through
social media and other new communications channels, have followed,
enabling ALIA to achieve great strides in a very short space of time.

As well as new reports generating fresh insights (eg Edith Cowan University
Better Beginnings; Centre for Youth Literature Keeping Young Australians
Reading), Australian libraries are using evidence and statistics generated by
academic partners in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS), to
convince the Federal Government of the need to invest in the library network.

At the same time, work is being carried out at a grassroots level, with the
Every Member an Advocate campaign, providing training, support and tools
for library managers and staff.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of IFLA Gothenburg 2010
Subtitle of host publicationOpen access to knowledge - promoting sustainable progress
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventWorld Library and Information Congress: IFLA General Conference and Assembly: Open access to knowledge - promoting sustainable progress - Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 10 Aug 201015 Aug 2010
Conference number: 76th


ConferenceWorld Library and Information Congress: IFLA General Conference and Assembly
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating a national voice for Australian libraries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this