FAIR stands for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources
We’re campaigning for a fair, open, democratic society where information belongs to everyone.
This campaign is led by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).
ALIA created FAIR to give people a way to actively support all kinds of libraries including public, school, TAFE, university, health, law, business, government as well as our National and State Libraries.
We started this campaign because we want to harness the passion of people who love libraries, people who work in the library and information sector and people who believe in freedom of access to information.
There are more than 10 million library users in Australia supported by 27,000 people working in the library and information sector.
FAIR enables people to show their support for the issues they feel passionate about and helps us secure the future for libraries.
Social equity and strong communities
Library and information professionals strive for a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate; where everyone can read, learn and succeed in their chosen endeavour. We respect and celebrate diversity, providing safe, neutral spaces where everyone is equally welcome. We promote freedom of access to information and ideas by connecting people with knowledge, facts and creative works. Libraries help build stronger, more resilient and sustainable economies and communities.
Literacy and lifelong learning
Libraries provide opportunities for informal learning. We support literacy – not only reading and writing, but also information literacy and digital literacy. Libraries operate in primary, secondary and tertiary education settings; through public libraries, they also enable people to return to study in later life, often providing pathways into formal learning and qualifications.
In universities, as physical collections are moving out, library spaces are being reinvented as learning commons – places that are designed for students to engage in new ways of learning for the 21st century, through collaborative exploration and discovery. Investment in eresources gives students access to the very latest global intelligence.
Quality research driving quality outcomes
All Australian university libraries support digital repositories and are part of the nation’s research facility infrastructure. Library staff are highly valued contributors to university research programs, which in turn support enterprise and innovation.
Preservation of our heritage and promotion of our culture
We collect and curate books, documents, manuscripts, pictures, audio visual and other materials. We make these valuable insights into our culture and history discoverable through libraries’ physical and digital collections.
In providing all this, we are naturally collaborative, working with government, communities, private companies and public institutions, including galleries, archives and museums.
Supporting the nation's priorities
Libraries are synonymous with equity, justice and the support of human rights. We help with the equal sharing of information and resources, contributing to people’s quality of life and enabling everyone to participate in decision-making through their online and real world engagement with local, state, territory and federal government. There is inherent fairness in the delivery of collections, services and programs for all Australians. We recognise and celebrate diverse cultures and we support people with print disabilities. We help create stronger, safer, socially inclusive communities.
Library and information services are free for the people who use them, providing valuable guidance, training and resources for people needing to develop new skills, job-seekers, social enterprises and for small businesses. We provide work and study spaces with free wifi. We offer top-up courses for people who want to re-enter the workforce. We help library users develop their information and digital literacy skills. In many ways we contribute to a stronger, more productive, prosperous Australia.
With 17% of five-year-olds at risk of not developing the reading skills they need to succeed in the workplace, early literacy initiatives in local libraries give every family the opportunity to give their child the best start. Quality early childhood education can start with rhyme and storytimes at local public libraries – open to everyone and giving children from homes without books a wide array of children’s picture books to spark their interest in reading.
Libraries are an essential element of the school, TAFE and university experience. Qualified library and information professionals provide assistance with information and digital literacies, as well as enabling access to books, resources, electronic databases and fast internet connection.
We support formal learning with informal, free public education and training. This is often a route back into formal education, a way back into the workplace or an opportunity for improved employment opportunities. Fast internet connection, the latest technology and devices in libraries provide a modern infrastructure to help individuals, home-workers and emerging enterprises stay connected.
Independent, secure seniors
All Australian public libraries have large print books in their collections, most run computer training courses specially designed for seniors and offer outreach for people who are home-bound. Many services are designed to support older people, providing choice, helping them maintain their independence and stay connected with the community around them.
Libraries contribute to people’s sense of wellbeing. Public libraries provide welcoming civic spaces. They are often physical manifestations of a council’s commitment to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ policies. In many different ways, libraries help build sustainable communities.
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