Eight members of the NSLA Board were finally able to come together in Sydney in late March for only their second in-person meeting in over two years. Continuing travel restrictions meant that members for New Zealand and Western Australia had to join online.
Directors paid tribute to long-serving member Margaret Allen, State Librarian for Western Australia and former NSLA Chair, who retires on 31 March.
Outside of business items and external committee reports, discussion focused on strategic planning for NSLA, current NSLA groups and projects, proposed governance models for the National eDeposit Service (NED), and outcomes of the recent Contemporary Indigenous Collections Audit project.
The collections audit project began in late 2020, with a first stage focusing on quantitative data from published collections, web archives and ephemera with First Nations content; and a second stage focusing on original collections containing First Nations materials. Butchulla researcher Rose Barrowcliffe undertook the second stage analysis, based on a sample of contemporary collections in four NSLA libraries. Following Rose’s presentation at the forthcoming ALIA National Conference 2022 in Canberra, reports from both project stages will be published on the NSLA website with details of work planned to address the recommendations. Already, the Board has confirmed in-principle support for a First Nations-led joint project with library sector colleagues to produce much-needed description guidelines for First Nations collections.
NED’s two-year ‘enhancement phase’ has formally come to an end, with four major enhancements completed and two considerably advanced by Senior Developer Jeremy Rixon. A lighter program of NED enhancements will continue as part of business-as-usual in the next financial year and beyond. A new governance model is being scoped for NED, with the possibility of a new NED program management role to be established at a NSLA member library in 2023.
Collective priorities for 2022-2025 were identified by the Board, including preservation of at-risk audio-visual materials; collection of online publications including web archiving; inclusion of under-served communities; First Nations communities, staff and collections; expertise-sharing and continued development of a strong regional workforce; keeping physical and digital collections safe; cybersecurity; and climate change impacts in the Pacific region.
These themes will be explored in finer detail in a series of workshops with the NSLA office, network and advisory group representatives, and members of the NSLA Board, with guidance from consultant Matt Finch, in order to produce a final draft strategic plan by late July.