Freedom of Access to Information and Resources
We’re campaigning for a fair, open, democratic society where information can be accessed by everyone.
FAIR is lobbying on a number of issues which affect Australia's library and information sector including copyright law reform, cybersafety and the problems with internet filtering, digitising our nation’s history, encouraging children to read, evidence-based decisions in law, health and business, evidence-based policy making, learning at any age, qualified library staff in schools, supporting Australia's book industry and well funded public libraries.
Throughout 2019, ALIA is running the Truth, Integrity Knowledge (TIK) campaign. The campaign focuses on why librarianship is one of the most trusted professionals in Australia.
To support campaign ALIA has created several TIK fact sheets based off topics suggested by ALIA Members and are designed to be used by library and information professionals to provide more information to the public on topics that might require a fine touch. We have also developed a TIK fact sheet template so that you can create fact sheets on topics that are most relevant to you and your users.
How to maintain Privacy in a Social World – who cares about your Privacy Rights?
There is at least one place in Australia – in the nation’s cities and towns – that respects your privacy. Libraries care passionately about protecting the confidentiality of its library users. At the heart of this sentiment is the principles adopted by many libraries across the nation – the 2018 ALIA Free access to information statement.
'Freedom of expression’ is a phrase that gets used a lot, to the extent that has become almost rhetorical. What does it actually mean? What is it to say you believe in ‘freedom of expression’? Freedom of expression I would say is the right to feel like you can be you without fear of persecution for your race, sexuality, gender, mental health status or any other characteristics that might lead you to suffer discrimination, ridicule or harassment.
What is Indigenous knowledge? According to the United Nations: ‘Indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings…[and] informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of day-to-day life. This knowledge is integral to a cultural complex that also encompasses language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, ritual and spirituality’.
Inclusion as a topic covers a broad church from gender and sexual identity, to culture, to religion, to language, to remoteness, to age, to living with difference in abilities. Inclusion is about our ability to appreciate, acknowledge and value difference. Inclusion from a digital perspective means addressing difference when we are thinking about accessing or disseminating information online or when harnessing technology.
Having knowledge and experience in evidence-based practice is another important part of what library professionals do best and why librarianship is one of the most trusted professions in Australia.
The goal of evidence-based practice is to create better outcomes based on scientifically relevant research, most likely quantitative in nature. It is an approach where decision-makers rank evidence according to how scientifically sound it may be to help guide their choices.
An underlying principle of the library and information professions is that it’s a basic human right to have freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination, without bias or censorship. This principle upholds a number of other human rights, as information in all its forms is fundamental to understanding yourself, your place in the world, how to exercise your rights as a citizen and express yourself. Knowledge is power, so it’s important that everyday people have access to a choice of information, without too many barriers being imposed.
To be a trusted professional is not a responsibility that library staff undertake lightly, even when they don’t consciously realise that they’re doing it! From my experience as a library professional over the past 38 years, library staff have an overwhelming commitment to service provision, making it virtually impossible for them to resist applying the profession’s values and ethics to every challenge for the provision of accurate, timely and impartial information to every request for assistance. Tenacity is in their DNA!