Today is the last day of work at the National Library for Kristy Fox an esteemed contributor to this blog. Kristy is moving to Melbourne to work at Ebook Library, a vendor providing ebooks to academic, research, government and corporate libraries. See their brochure.
Of the original founders of this blog who are still contributing, there is now only one still working at the National Library. This shows a number of things:
The National Library continues to lose its skilled library professionals, due to its management practices and lack of career advancement opportunities
Professional librarians continue to move outside of traditional library roles seeking improved opportunities and a chance to broaden their skills
The National Library continues to lead in big technology items like Trove, but its traditional services including reference, special collections, research, publishing, collection development, description and classification as well as its online services are more comparable to those of a small country museum than a national library
We do hope that the National Library finds its way, in the mean time, its former librarians wherever they work, will continue to better promote the core aims of librarianship elsewhere.
Dr Byrne has been a voice for librarians in matters of intellectual freedom and opposing censorship for many years, and served as IFLA President, his appointment is most welcome.
In libraries, the defence of intellectual freedom is expressed through the unabashed provision of all the resources needed by our clients. But it needs to go further, as active support for freedom of expression. Our libraries should resound with many contending views, including the unacceptable, and indeed that which we might find hateful. In developing our collections, physical and virtual, we must keep this principle to the fore, actively making available controversial and contentious materials. In making such materials available, even those that we may find repugnant or just nonsensical, we are not endorsing their arguments, but upholding the essential principle of intellectual freedom. In the words of the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom, we are endeavouring to “make available the widest variety of materials, reflecting the plurality and diversity of society” and to “ensure that the selection and availability of library materials and services is governed by professional considerations and not by political, moral and religious views”. Dr Alex Byrne Libraries and Democracy
We can also be thankful that the position has gone to a librarian.
The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) have released the results from its survey of members’ views of digital publishing trends – surprise ‘both authors and publishers think the benefits of digital publishing far outweigh any of the downsides’ – less of a surprise was that most Australian publishers still had no strategies for digital publishing.
What was worrying was that Australian authors, still believe that publishers have an important role to play in digital publishing – read it all here
Disclaimer - I am a member of CAL, they send me money.
Last night via it’s twitterfeed the British Library announced that, due to strike action as voted by its union members, it’s ‘Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies Reading Rooms’ will be closed and that other reading rooms may also be closed at short notice.
Unfortunately this is not the first time such radical action has been undertaken, with reading rooms closed back in 1999 and 2002. Closed reading rooms have the potential to have a great impact on the library’s users. It has been surprising to see that this tweet barely made a plonk in the social media ocean… why are people not talking about this issue? If industrial action does not get the attention of library lovers everywhere – what will?
The ACT Government is moving towards further openness:
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, will make public access to information the default position of her Government as the first step in increasing openness of Government. Measures include release of a weekly summary of Cabinet issues and decisions and creation of an Open Government Website, which will be used to release government background reports and reviews; provide public access to material released through Freedom of Information; and access to submissions made during public consultation.