NSLA’s response to the ALIA Professional Pathways Consultation Paper supports the program’s overall intent and direction, including the introduction of alternative pathways to the library profession in addition to the continuation of formal LIS courses.
Professional recognition and career pathways
NSLA member libraries support the overall intent and direction of the Professional Pathways program. We commend the ALIA team for its rigorous, consultative and evidence-based approach to tackling a set of very complex issues in a way that promises to shape and strengthen our future as a profession.
As the largest employers of non-librarian professionally qualified staff in the sector, we are aware of the need for a comprehensive Australian framework of knowledge, skills and behaviour that provides direction and focus for all who work in libraries to shape their own learning and development. We are also acutely aware of the specific skills that constitute professional librarianship, and the continuing need for those skills even as library systems and services evolve.
NSLA supports the introduction of alternative pathways to the library profession in addition to the continuation of current pathways, with formal LIS teaching courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) remaining strongly supported and widely available for all who seek this pathway.
We welcome the opportunities that these additional pathways will provide in recognising employees from diverse educational backgrounds. We note the importance of defining the qualifications required of a ‘library professional’ (as distinct from a librarian) as part of the next stage of the Professional Pathways program.
Professionals in the library sector, as in any other sector, must commit to ongoing professional development. NSLA supports a program of professional recognition based on qualifications, training and experience. Demonstration of capacity and appetite to continue learning, regardless of seniority, is an important consideration in recruitment and promotion. We would support a model that provides consistent language, accreditation and validation of different kinds of professional learning delivered by a range of providers.
NSLA supports the conceptual design of the framework as an effective way of capturing a wide array of potential career paths while illustrating their inter-relatedness, and linking all paths back to the central tenets of the library profession.
We would emphasise the importance of engaging with unions and employer associations in refining and implementing such a framework. We recognise its potential as a tool both in course accreditation and in the performance review process for staff seeking to develop skills and identify career paths.
Download the response document below to read responses to specific sections of the consultation paper.