Aside from the current issue of politics and economics of 'ownership' of our community asset, the Richmond - Tweed Regional Library (RTRL) network, as a job-seeking qualified librarian (yes, it's a grey area, but there is a qualification required for working as a professional in a library) my greatest frustration is the lack of understanding of the depth, passion, expertise, professionalism, management skills (yes, we study management) and total immersion that most qualified librarians have for their jobs and their chosen work sector.
Do we allow councils to single - handily run our health sector, our justice sector, our education sector? No, we assign it to the experts, those qualified in that field. Those people like me who have chosen this career have put in the hard effort of study, met the high costs and who now belong to a supportive national organisation (see www.alia.org.au). ALIA members continue to do PD courses and training to up-skill and keep ahead of Library and Information Services (LIS) trends, to ensure that we are able to provide a high quality, effective and sustainable library and information service. We are well aware of the issues facing the industry, here and globally. LIS is one of the most important sectors for a whole community, from birth to death, regardless of race, religion, gender or socio-economics. And I refer not just to the physical act of learning to read or "reading books". I have to tread a fine line here. It may well be that one of our councils is my future employer! That's okay, that would be great; so long as there is a clear resolution for the RTRL network to operate within it is sure to succeed whoever is paying for it. But please, consider that our library service, like any other in NSW city or regional, is not to be thrown around like a ball hoping that someone will catch it and consider it to be run like any other local government department, answerable to a suit at a round table.
No, the service requires dedicated and qualified LIS professionals, as hospitals have doctors, courts have lawyers and schools have teachers. We know who we are. And now it is crucial to listen to us, and really listen to Martin Field, listen to the support of Library Friends, and work with us to ensure that this valuable service is not degraded or even lost entirely.