FAIR: Campaign to secure the future of libraries, their patrons and staff

Monday, 2 February 2015

Monday 2 February 2015 Canberra: In the lead up to Library Lovers’ Day on February 14, The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) today launched FAIR which campaigns for a fair, open and democratic society where information belongs to everyone.

FAIR stands for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources. The website is: fair.alia.org.au

It will lobby for a series of issues including well funded libraries, copyright law reform, the digitisation of our history, evidence-based policy making, lifelong learning and qualified library staff in schools.

ALIA created FAIR to give people a way to actively support all kinds of libraries including public, TAFE, university, health, law, business and government as well as our National and State Libraries.

FAIR enables people to show their support for the FAIR issues and will help secure the future of libraries. (see below for background information on issues which on which FAIR will lobby)

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, said: ’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.’

‘We want to remind those in Governments who are looking at tough budgets, that slicing away library resources, funding and staffing is shortsighted in the extreme.’

‘Cutting library budgets would affect the 10 million library users in Australia and the 27,000 people working in the library and information sector who support those users – day-in and day-out.’

‘Libraries are constantly evolving. They are transforming to meet the demands of virtual lending and ebooks, creating spaces for study, relaxation, events, meetings and other creative uses for the community.’

Ms McKerracher said fairness underpins the library and information sector’s professional ethos and it’s this value that sets us apart from other organisations that occupy a similar space.

‘People can buy books from bookshops, they can search for answers through Google, they can meet in a wifi-enabled cafe, but none of these other providers of content, information, space and technology comes with the same brand of equity and fairness as a library.’

‘In a library you can access information, read about new ideas, learn a new skill, hold a meeting and create new things – all assisted by library staff who can help you with your goals.  Libraries are incubators of imagination, repositories of knowledge, gateways to information and offer a place to think and create.’

FAIR’s website (fair.alia.org.au), tweets (@joinFAIR), Facebook page (facebook.com/joinFAIR) and newsletter (sign up on the website) will keep supporters informed about lobbying efforts. Join FAIR to help support and take a stand on freedom of access to information and resources.

Ms McKerracher said: ‘We can see the power of books, writing and ideas to inspire when more than a quarter of a million people followed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s suggestion to read The End Of Power by Moisés Naim. The book rocketed up the charts, it was re-printed and demand for the electronic version spiked.’

‘This reminds us of the deep, rich and interesting veins of knowledge that can be gained from reading and, of course, a library opens the door to this world.’

This Valentine’s Day (February 14), we will be celebrating Library Lovers’ Day – a chance to call in to show your love and appreciation for your library.

Ms McKerracher said:  ‘Libraries and library teams across Australia provide so much for their communities—whether it is a hospital librarian providing the most up-to-date research for surgeons, a volunteer delivering audio books to the housebound, or a teacher librarian providing the foundations of lifelong literacy.’

‘Library Lovers’ Day is incredibly popular and library teams run events and activities to promote the library service to its patrons. So check your local library and see what it is planning to celebrate the day.’

ENDS

About FAIR

FAIR stands for Freedom of Access to Information and Resources. The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) created FAIR to give people a way to support all kinds of libraries. FAIR lobbies for well-funded libraries, copyright law reform, the digitisation of our history, evidence-based policy making, lifelong learning and qualified library staff in schools. FAIR was created by ALIA to bring together all of its advocacy work. fair.alia.org.au

About the Australian Library and Information Association

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au

Contact:

Heather Wellard, Communications Manager:  heather.wellard@alia.org.au | 02 6215 8225 |

0409 830 439