NSLA Board meets in Tasmania

Board members and library representatives at Launceston Library in March 2024.
Board members and library representatives at Launceston Library in March 2024. L-R: Vicki McDonald AM (SLQ), Caroline Butler-Bowdon (SLNSW), Tim Kong (NLNZ), Marie-Louise Ayres (NLA), Rachel Esson (NLNZ), Sue McKerracher (Libraries TAS), Simon Polson (NSLA), Ania Tait (LANT), Jo Ritale (NSLA), Geoff Strempel (SLSA), Catherine Clark (SLWA), Antoinette Buchanan (Libraries ACT).

By Simon Polson, Executive Director, National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA).

Libraries Tasmania hosted the NSLA Board meeting in the beautiful city of Launceston during its ‘Tasmania Reads’ week. Prior to the start of the meeting, the NSLA Board toured the beautifully and thoughtfully designed Inveresk Library at UTAS. This was followed by an insightful walkthrough of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG), led by Director Shane Fitzgerald, including a preview of the new ‘Mind Blown’ exhibit. Members also enjoyed viewing the fascinating collection of rare and heritage items that were displayed at the Launceston Library.

Over the next couple of days, in addition to NSLA business, the Board heard guest presentations on important NSLA topics, including sustainability in cultural institutions (Jessica Gooch, Director, Strategic Engagement, Sydney Opera House), media literacy and Tasmania’s 26Ten adult literacy program (Anita Planchon, Director, Lifting Literacy, Tasmanian DECYP), and cybersecurity in libraries (David Wong, Chief Information Officer, NLA).

At the Board dinner, members toasted Geoff Strempel, who recently announced that he would retire from the State Library of South Australia in October of this year (Geoff will continue to work closely with NSLA colleagues until then, including at our online AGM and Board meeting in July). Colleagues shared their gratitude to Geoff for the generous spirit and collaboration he has brought to NSLA over the years.

Outcomes of the March 2024 meeting of the NSLA Board include:

  • Endorsing the Oral History Network to submit a panel presentation for the Oral History Australia biennial conference in Melbourne in November, and to host concurrently an in-person meeting of the network at that time;
  • Continued commitment to strengthening First Nations voices through the First Nations Advisory Group and Blakforce Network;
  • A resolution to form a Steering Group and recruit a part-time Project Officer to scope the implementation of Official RDA on behalf of a collaboration of NSLA’s Australian member libraries with other library sector partners;
  • Adopting revisions to the NED Content Policy, including direction for the removal of content, adding digital ephemera as a material type that can be deposited in NED, a statement on AI and expanding the mandatory metadata to include language, and a revision to the NED strategic vision mission statement to prioritise library users;
  • Support for the formation of a NSLA Public Library Network for a trial period;
  • Further discussion of the challenges and opportunities for social media collection.

On a personal note, it was a fascinating experience, so early in my role with NSLA, to attend the March meeting of the NSLA Board and to witness first-hand the depth of knowledge and experience, and the spirit of cooperation and partnership, that drives our collaboration.

The NSLA Board next meets for its AGM in an online meeting scheduled over two days in late July.

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