ALIA Blog Article

ALIA Blog: Director of Policy and Education Trish Hepworth visits Perth

ALIA’s Director of Policy and Education recently travelled to Perth for ALIA. Below she reflects on her trip and the work that is being done by library and information services in WA. 

My first stop was the library and information services (LIS) students at North Metro TAFE. North Metro TAFE is the only training organisation offering the VET-level LIS training packages in WA, and has strong student cohorts across the Certificate III, Certificate IV and Diploma qualifications. Arriving to a warm welcome despite (or maybe due to) the interruption to their normal schedule, it was a great opportunity to catch up with students, hear their experiences of study and the industry and answer as many questions as possible. All LIS students are eligible to be ALIA student members, and join groups such as Students and New Graduates Group (SNGG)  and ALIA West  – a great way to make connections and learn when you are new to the industry. 

I could hardly go to NM TAFE without dropping in to the see the TAFE library. There was time for a quick tour of the art and design section where a modified classification approach is improving browsability for students, and a tour of the multimedia resources, still in high demand. It was good to have a chat to the staff as well from the other side of the student placement experience, like many libraries in LIS educational institutions the NM TAFE library is a strong supporter of students through student placements – some of whom have gone on to work there after graduation!

From one education sector to another, it was then off to speak to the WA Department of Education about ways to improve the resourcing and support for public school libraries. At a time where governments all over the country are struggling to boost literacy levels and increase teacher retention, it seems a no brainer to invest in school libraries and qualified school library staff. If you’d like some support to advocate for your local school library please check out the resources at Students Need School Libraries





Tuesday and Wednesday were long and intense days for the Curtin University accreditation panel, where I was joined by the ALIA Panel Members Cheryl Hamill FALIA, Constance Wiebrands AALIA and Dr Heather Brown AALIA (CP) , as well as the panellists representing the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and the Records and Information Management Practitioner Alliance (RIMPA Global). Together we met with university leaders, academic staff, sessional lecturers, support staff, alumni, employers and others over two days. 

ALIA currently accredits five universities  (three with ongoing courses), so that students who graduate from these degrees are confident that their qualifications will be recognised for Association Membership (AALIA). In between the panel visits (normally every five years) there is constant reporting through annual course returns, and assessment of significant changes to courses. 

A highlight of the trip was celebrating Panellist Cheryl Hamill’s birthday! With a cake procured by Curtin Placement Coordinator Bec Shillington and a card sourced from Chair of the Advisory Board Karen Anderson, we all celebrated Cheryl’s happy day and dedication to library and information services.





Thursday was spent at the State Library of WA, who kindly hosted the Professional Pathways workshop. An informative, engaging and, dare I say, enjoyable afternoon was spent in the company of people from different library and information sectors areas and career stages, reflecting on their journeys, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the prototype framework and exploring possible options for the future. To join the conversation please head to the Professional Pathways website to read the consultation and provide feedback by joining a workshop, sending in quick feedback or writing a submission. 

Following the workshop a group of participants joined with other ALIA West members for quick social gathering. It was a fun way to catch-up with all the WA news, make some new connections and generally have fun.  If you are close to Perth make sure that you have marked your diaries for the ALIA West Trivia night on 1 December!



After popping the critical post-its from the workshop into the post on Friday morning I managed to get some time with the Australian Public Library Alliance’s (APLA) Chair Viv Barton to talk all things public libraries, in WA and across the country, followed by a meeting with CAUL President Jill Benn to talk university libraries.