Australian Library and Information Association + IFLA Strategy: forging professional pathways
25 June 2021
Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 3.4 “Provide targeted learning and professional development”, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has been enhancing professional practice and connecting the library through a bold and ambitious initiative to strengthen the profession, increase workforce diversity and ensure future-ready skills: the Professional Pathways project.
Launched in November 2021, the Professional Pathways initiative has proposed a new direction for recognising professional status in the Australian library and information sector, which focuses on strengthening existing courses, expanding study opportunities, acknowledging existing skills and experience, and placing ongoing professional development at the core of professional status.
Recognising all professions in libraries
The Australian library and information sector benefits from the diverse skills and experience of professionals in the workforce, but the current professional recognition framework focuses only on LIS qualifications. Professional Pathways is a new model that recognises existing skills and experience from diverse professional backgrounds and provides a pathway for people to gain professional status. This aligns strongly with IFLA’s Strategic Direction 4, increasing, diversifying, and engaging our membership. By recognising the wide range of professional abilities across the LIS workforce, we actively build a more inclusive profession.
Embedding LIS professional principles
IFLA’s Strategic Direction 2 focuses on inspiring and enhancing the profession, through developing standards, guidelines and other materials that foster best professional practice.
ALIA’s Professional Pathways creates a formal education framework that embeds professional principles, not just for trained librarians, but for library employees at all levels, including entry-level library officers, trainees and non-librarian professionals working in the library sector. In particular, feedback from the sector has highlighted the importance and centrality of ethical practice for all library and information workers.
Centring professional development
Since 2020, the ALIA Professional Development Scheme has been a core element of professional membership, which recognises participants’ achievement through Certified Professional status.
Professional Pathways will further centre the role of professional development, not simply as an ‘add-on’, but an essential part of LIS professional status, alongside formal education and work experience. This contributes to the IFLA Strategic Direction 3, to connect and empower the field through targeted learning and professional development.
Like the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, ALIA’s Professional Pathways is a call to action. It follows a similar vision to build a strong and united library field – one that recognises the strengths of its entire professional workforce, united through professional principles and ethics and committed to ongoing professional development.
Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024
How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.