In 2018, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) organised seven Leadership & Innovation Forums across Australia. These forums are a biennial event.
The theme in 2018 was ‘Meaningful and respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and heritage – what more do we need to do?’ This aligned with the Presidential theme of Indigenous matters and complemented ALIA’s 2019 Truth, Integrity, Knowledge campaign.
These forums took place in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. In May 2019, to coincide with ALIA’s Annual General Meeting, a similar forum was held at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra.
Across the eight forums, conversations shared common threads, prompted and supported by questions directed towards the expert panellists. These panellists included representatives from AIATSIS, the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Research and Education, Noongar Boodjar Language Centre, and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
The panellists were asked variations on the following questions:
• How can libraries develop and improve our programs and services to better meet the needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
• In what ways can libraries attract more people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to work in our sector?
• What are some of the personal experiences – or compelling arguments – that have influenced your thinking and have motivated you to be an advocate for change?
• What more can we do?