Save Ultimo TAFE Library - ALIA's open letter to NSW Skills Minister

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has written an open letter to the NSW Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, to protest about TAFE management’s plan to turn the third floor of its Ultimo campus library into corporate offices.

The library at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney is under threat and ALIA and FAIR are supporting a campaign to keep all levels of the library open for students.

TAFE Corporate has plans to take over level three of Ultimo TAFE library which will result in a significant reduction of valuable library space including student computers, study rooms and quiet study areas.

The text of the letter from Sue McKeracher, CEO of ALIA, is below:


Dear Minister

I am writing on behalf of the 5000 Members of the Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA] to protest about Sydney TAFE management’s plan to turn the third floor of its Ultimo campus library into corporate offices. ALIA is both the peak body for the library and information profession and the accrediting body for the Library and Information Science Diploma delivered by Sydney TAFE.

Ultimo has been a flagship library for TAFE in NSW since it opened in 1982. At that time, it was at the leading edge of digital innovation and the transformation of library spaces into learning commons, with formal and informal, individual and group study spaces. Over the intervening 34 years, it has remained at the forefront of TAFE libraries.

The library is used, not only by students from the Ultimo campus, but also by students across TAFE NSW. It is a very busy library. There are more than 250,000 visits to the library each year and there is currently seating for just over 1000 students at any one time.

Not only would the removal of one floor cut the available space for students by a third, it would reduce it still further by forcing the well-used print collection and teaching spaces to be squeezed into the other two floors.

We understand that this plan was developed without consultation with students, faculty or the library staff, and the move is intended to be complete by the beginning of March 2017.

We ask you to intervene with the Sydney TAFE management team and urge them to reconsider this plan as a matter of urgency.



If you'd like to support the campaign to save the library space, here's a petition to sign and a 'Save Ultimo Library' facebook page to keep up to date.

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.

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.


Heather Wellard, Communications Manager: | 02 6215 8225 | 0409830 439