Literacy and freedom of access to information underpin libraries’ federal election agenda
(8 May 2016, Canberra) Following today’s confirmation of Saturday 2 July as the date the nation will go to the polls, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the peak body for library and information professionals, has launched its federal election agenda.
ALIA’s agenda seeks to tackle the nation’s literacy problem head on (nearly half of all adults in Australia struggle with everyday reading and writing); unlock millions of historic documents and images so they can be viewed on the web; make government-funded research data readily available as building blocks for academics, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs, and contribute to the government’s National Strategy for International Education.
Sue McKerracher, ALIA Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘The proposals in our document, The Library and Information Agenda 2016, include policies and investments which are essential for the success of Australia as an innovation-focused, knowledge-based economy. Library and information services enable Australians to be well-informed, literate and ready for future economic and technological challenges.’
Featured in the ALIA agenda are copyright law reform, open access, digital access to cultural collections, investment in the Trove discovery platform, upgrades for public library buildings, more help for citizens connecting with government online, qualified library staff in schools, first class library services for tertiary students and greater recognition of the role of information specialists in evidence-based government decision-making.
Ms McKerracher said: ‘Our 13,650 libraries have nearly 13 million users in communities, schools, universities, TAFEs, government departments, research agencies, hospitals, NGOs, law firms, banks, media and technology companies and other knowledge-based enterprises across Australia. We need action and commitment from federal government to ensure Australia remains a world class, information-rich environment.’
The ALIA agenda asks political parties and candidates:
- What is your position on Trove and digital access to Australian collections?
- What is your commitment to further reform of the Copyright Act, based on the findings of The Productivity Commission Intellectual Property Arrangements Draft Report?
- How does open access for government-funded research fit with your policies for research and innovation?
- What role do you see for libraries in helping to deliver digital transformation?
- How will you ensure that libraries are included in the nation’s future literacy and learning strategies?
- Will you endorse the aspirational goal of a qualified library professional for every school?
- Will your Ministers insist on well-resourced library and information services run by qualified library professionals for their departments?
- How will you ensure the next government can leverage libraries as a critical element of the nation’s knowledge infrastructure?
Click here for the announcement in full.