The survival of librarianship as a profession is at stake – it is now time to have your say in the Professional Pathways Framework consultations.
Twelve months ago, I wrote in JoHILA about ALIA’s Professional Pathways project, which is looking at alternative options for professional-level entry, and different routes to becoming an ALIA “certified library and information professional”:
This certified status would be achievable via pathways other than the current educational ones, which could see the control of the qualifications and criteria for becoming a professional, shift from the universities/TAFEs (accredited education providers) to the professional body (which is not, itself, a registered education and training provider).
The Project has now reached a consultation phase in which a new “prototype” framework that would redefine the career pathways “into and within the profession”, is proposed. This is the link to the Consultation Paper, the prototype framework is on p11: https://professionalpathways.alia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/PP_ConsultationPaper_formatted_proof-2.pdf
It is now time to have your say about the prototype framework – you can go to any of the workshops that are being held in all states and territories from August to November 2022, or attend HLA’s online workshop – date in mid-October to be confirmed. Or you can submit your feedback online here: https://professionalpathways.alia.org.au/have-your-say/
Important points to note
“The framework should be developed in consultation with people across the sector, and draw from the evidence in this report and ALIA’s Foundation knowledge for entry-level library and information professionals.” [emphasis mine]
The first piece of evidence documented as Key Finding number 1 in the Technical Report is that:
“Alongside core professional knowledge, values and ethics sit at the centre of professional practice and professional identity; these differentiate the library and information profession from other sectors.” [emphasis mine]
It is critical that this evidence as documented in the first Key Finding – that our core professional knowledge sits at the centre of professional practice and professional identity – be translated and represented accurately in the new framework.
It is entirely logical and correct that ALIA, as the professional association that sets, regulates and upholds standards of professional practice, should describe the knowledge that new graduates of LIS education should have before entering the profession and before being granted professional status.
In effect, the prototype framework demotes our professional core knowledge base from being a central, foundational educational requirement for initial entry and professional recognition, relegating our complete set of “Professional Knowledge Domains” to the function of alternative specialised development pathways to Active Professionalism (i.e. ongoing Continuing Professional Development, CPD).
The alternative pathways outlined in the scenarios in the Consultation Paper show that experience and on-the-job, skills-based training, with some library ethics and values units or other microcredentials (details yet to be provided) are the criteria that ALIA will use to confer professional status on individuals who wish to become ALIA-certified library and information professionals. Some may choose to do LIS qualifications along the way, but this is not a requirement for entry into the profession.
What can we do if we want to see our profession survive, and not:
We can be part of the consultation process, and participate in the co-design of the framework and specifically address Questions 3, 8 and 9 in the Consultation Paper – to make it into a framework that accurately represents the evidence, recommendations and key findings of the Technical Report, and retains our foundational professional knowledge and education requirements.
In summary – the new framework defining the career pathways into and within the profession, should make it clear that:
Please take the time to read the Consultation Paper and consider what you think professional librarianship should entail into the future. This is your chance to have your say, through any of the workshop or submission channels
(see https://professionalpathways.alia.org.au/have-your-say/ ). And come along to our online HLA workshop consultation in mid-October.
 Ritchie, A. 2021. National Manager Update – August 2021. Journal of Health Information and Libraries Australasia. 2(2), pp5-7. https://www.johila.org/index.php/Johila/issue/view/9
 Professional Pathways Frameworks Project Consultation Paper, August 2022. See Figure 1: Professional Pathways draft Framework, p11. https://professionalpathways.alia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/PP_ConsultationPaper_formatted_proof-2.pdf
 Hallam, G. 2022. Professional Pathways Framework Project: Technical Report. p264. https://read.alia.org.au/professional-pathways-frameworks-project-technical-report
 Foundation knowledge for entry-level library and information professionals. 2020. https://read.alia.org.au/foundation-knowledge-entry-level-library-and-information-professionals
 Professional Pathways Project Consultation Paper, August 2022. p26-31. https://professionalpathways.alia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/PP_ConsultationPaper_formatted_proof-2.pdf