2021: It’s a wrap!

Ready for a break after wrapping up a busy year. (Image: Two children sleeping under a Christmas tree by Edwin G. Adamson, State Library Victoria

NSLA meeting outcomes, November 2021

The November meeting of NSLA CEOs and Directors was held online once again, with members joining from the lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri; Whadjuk Noongar (Boodja); Turrbul and Yuggera; Kaurna yerta; Larrakia; Lutruwita; Gadigal; Wurundjeri; and Te Ᾱtiawa and Taranaki whānui.

This was a significant meeting for our two major NSLA projects: the Culturally Safe Libraries Program (CSLP) and the National eDeposit Service (NED). Also for our current Chair, Dr Marie-Louise Ayres (NLA), who completes her term with NSLA this month after 2.5 years at the helm – handing over to Vicki McDonald (SLQ) from January 2022, with Patrick Gregory (LANT) as Deputy Chair.

On day one, the NSLA CEO group welcomed guest speakers from the Australia Council for the Arts: Adrian Collette (CEO) and Rebecca Mostyn (Director, Research & Knowledge Management). Discussion centred around recent ACA research – particularly on digital engagement and First Nations representation in Australian arts and culture.

Reports were noted from the Australian Media Literacy Alliance, Australian Libraries and Archives Copyright Coalition, National Early Language and Literacy Coalition, Digital Preservation Coalition, and ALIA Professional Pathways committee. A report on NSLA’s responsibilities against the UN Sustainable Development Goals was shared alongside outcomes of the recent library sector roundtable on the SDG’s, hosted by Vicki McDonald on behalf of the ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee.

Major projects

Culturally Safe Libraries Program

The three-year CSLP is officially complete, with all components of the program delivered on time. Project members Lesley Acres (SLQ) and Damien Webb (SLNSW) spoke compellingly to CEOs about the changes they’ve witnessed as a result of the program, the continuing need for small group training (preferably in person), and the work that must yet be done in each library. In their discussion, the CEO group was able to draw upon the findings of NSLA’s inaugural Indigenous cultural capability audit.

Recommendations to maintain momentum included establishment of a First Nations Advisory Group for NSLA (to be known, of course, as FNAG); joint rollout of further training and workshops where more than two libraries share an interest; continued work with external First Nations committees and projects in the cultural sector (with a focus on Indigenous collection description in 2022-23) and continued support of Blakforce (NSLA’s support network for First Nations staff) including annual in-person meetings where possible.

All were adopted, with terms of reference for FNAG to be considered at the March meeting. A report from Stage 2 of NSLA’s Contemporary Indigenous Collections Audit will also be presented to this meeting by Butchulla researcher Rose Barrowcliffe.

National eDeposit Service

With its ‘enhancement phase’ near completion, the National edeposit service (NED) will see project management shift away from the NSLA Executive Officer to the National Library in January 2022. After six years of project management from the NSLA office to shepherd NED from concept to build, launch and now enhancement, this decision is part of a move toward a more sustainable governance model. A new model, to be considered in March, will be carefully designed to keep the system and service running efficiently while retaining the strength of the collaboration that makes NED so unique.

The final big-ticket item on the agenda was a new Constitution and Board Charter for NSLA as we move toward registration as an incorporated association in January. This will mean a move for the NSLA office out of State Library Victoria after twenty years, and on to Canberra. More in our next newsletter, so stay tuned!

A few fond farewells

Last week we said farewell to Janice van de Velde, whose secondment with NSLA as Senior Adviser, Research & Policy came to an end on November 25. Janice has been working with us for sixteen months, bringing 26 years of experience at State Library Victoria to the role. In addition to valuable advice on research and policy, she produced a comprehensive report on NSLA libraries’ responses to Covid-19, and carried out detailed research and statistical analysis for the Culturally Safe Libraries Program evaluation.

The CEO group passed a vote of thanks to Janice for her contribution and noted the quality of her work, not only during the secondment period, but over many years with various NSLA projects including as long-term convenor of the NSLA Copyright Group. Janice’s deep intellectual understanding of copyright law and her generosity with colleagues were acknowledged by current Copyright Group convenor, Philippa Stevens (SLNSW), in her report to the meeting.

Since the July 2021 meeting, NSLA has also reluctantly said farewell to two members of the CEO group.

Liz Jack, formerly Executive Director of Libraries Tasmania, was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Safeguarding Children and Young People for Tasmania’s Department of Education. Kate Torney, formerly CEO of State Library Victoria, left the library sector in October to take up her new role as CEO at the Peter MacCallum Foundation.

Both Liz and Kate have made considerable contributions to the NSLA program of work, with Kate serving an extended term as Chair and Liz representing NSLA on several external committees, including as co-Chair of GLAM Peak. Both will be greatly missed. In the current climate, of course, we could only raise a toast online. Cheers to Liz and Kate!

Barbara Lemon, NSLA Executive Officer

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