Statement from the Chair: NSLA’s 50th anniversary

NSLA Chair, Vicki McDonald
NSLA Chair, Vicki McDonald

On 30 March 2023, the NSLA Board came together in Melbourne, fifty years to the day since the very first meeting of the State Librarians Council (SLC) at State Library Victoria. From SLC, to the Council of Australian State Libraries (CASL), then National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), our member libraries have worked in close and formal collaboration for half a century.

I’m pleased and proud that we can mark this very significant milestone with the launch of a new strategy, Leading Together; a refreshed website that makes our many resources and guidelines readily available; and new branding with a new logo for NSLA Incorporated.

NSLA is more than a collective voice for its ten member libraries. It is a driving force for innovation and professional development. It is a mechanism for joint approaches to collecting and service delivery, research, advocacy, skills development and library standards, bringing the benefits of shared expertise and economies of scale to a collaborative program of work.

NSLA revolutionised library services in Australia and New Zealand with its ‘big bang’ program in the early 2000s, establishing a series of project groups to tackle the most urgent and intractible issues we faced. Since then, we have formed dozens of professional networks and sector partnerships. Members have collaborated to deliver policies, guidelines, resources, and major projects including most recently the Culturally Safe Libraries Program and the National edeposit service (NED).

This year we will be hosting a series of online and in-person events intended to share and promote expertise within our national, state and territory libraries, and to demonstrate projects that NSLA is undertaking with other library sector organisations. We will also be taking the time to recognise those who have made exceptional contributions to the NSLA program over many years.

NSLA libraries serve a common purpose in preserving and providing access to the documentary heritage of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand: our collective intellectual and creative legacy. We uphold the democratic principles of freedom of expression and the right to information, and we share a commitment to public service. Physically and virtually, we are sites of learning, discovery, creativity, community, and public debate. We are vital contributors to our national communities and to our national economies.

Here’s to the next 50 years of partnership and collegiality between NSLA libraries for the benefit of the communities we serve.

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