Vocational education and training (VET) libraries

About VET libraries 


How many libraries and where are they located?

According to our mapping of TAFE libraries, there are 44 institutes of TAFE around Australia, with 387 campuses and 246 libraries. You can download the full list at 31 August 2021: here.

It is harder to find out about libraries serving private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Some RTOs have excellent library services on their own account; others have fee-for-service arrangements with TAFE, University and public libraries, but there are also RTO libraries which fail to meet an acceptable standard of information service provision to students.

ALIA Futures has more information about VET libraries

VET libraries support UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 - quality education.

VET Libraries Advisory Committee

The VET Libraries Advisory Committee advises the ALIA Board of Directors on the development of a strategic program for members working in vocational libraries or with interests in vocational librarianship. The Committee coordinates and maintains the National Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme to support students studying externally, and it is involved in advocacy for the sector.  


Chair: Brenda Burr (brburr@wodongatafe.edu.au)

Members: Mary Carroll, Jo Clark, Paul Metcalfe, Angela Orth, Wanda Pomeroy, Claire Stalker-Booth, Hannah Vander Helm.

VET Libraries ALIA PD Specialisation

In 2017, the VET Libraries Advisory Committee worked with the ALIA Learning team to develop a VET Libraries PD Specialisation.

Snapshot of the issues facing the sector

Early in 2016, the ALIA VET Libraries Advisory Committee carried out a survey of TAFE libraries to provide a snapshot of the issues facing the sector. The survey generated responses from every state and territory, providing feedback about how changes in structure and funding have affected TAFE libraries and the library and information professionals who run them. The findings showed that TAFE libraries had not escaped the dramatic changes taking place in vocational education and training, often as a result of cost-cutting. Download the survey report.

Another survey was conducted in March 2019. Where possible, we have shown the results from both surveys to highlight similarities and differences. The 2019 survey data infers a sector reacting to both internally and externally driven circumstances. The survey results show a challenging environment in which TAFE libraries and their staff operate. Download the 2019 report

Guidelines for Australian VET Libraries

The Guidelines for Australian VET Libraries have been updated as at August 2019.

In June 2016, the committee published new Guidelines for Australian VET Libraries, which expressed where we are now, with libraries providing essential support for educators and students, and the potential for the future, with libraries embracing new technologies, new resources, new services and new programs, to deliver the very best student experience, whether on campus or online. 

National Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme

The ALIA Vet Libraries Advisory Committee manages the National Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme


ALIA advocates for VET libraries. We joined with the Victorian Association of TAFE Libraries (VATL) to lobby against budget cuts initiated by the Victorian State Government in 2012-2013 and created a prospectus about the value of TAFE libraries.