Mandatory Employment Requirements in the Library and Information Sector: The Impacts for New Generation Professionals.

ALIA’s New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC) is dedicated to empowering students, recent graduates and early-career professionals within the library and information sector. This includes advocating for equitable and inclusive policies that align with the needs of emerging professionals, as well as fostering a sense of belonging and support. In early 2023, NGAC became aware of challenges faced by new graduates and early-career professionals within the LIS sector, due to mandatory employment requirements. In particular, the need to hold a driver’s licence was highlighted as a significant barrier to employment.

In response, NGAC has embarked on a new project, designing a qualitative survey to inform our advocacy for inclusive employment practices. The purpose of this survey is to gather the experiences, opinions and feelings of individuals who are affected by mandatory employment requirements within the library and information sector, including but not limited to the driver’s licence requirements. NGAC’s survey, Mandatory Employment Requirements for New Generation Professionals in the Library and Information Sector, is scheduled for October 2023.

Following the ‘What? So What? and Now What?’ reflective practice model, our survey is designed to deepen our understanding of why these requirements have an impact, and to provide insights into their effects on individuals. NGAC will collate and analyse the survey responses, highlighting the priority areas that the library and information sector must address to ensure equitable and inclusive employment opportunities for all new and emerging library professionals. Only by listening to those impacted by mandatory employment requirements can NGAC advocate for the needs of new professionals in the library and information sector.

This proposed submission will speak to the stories gathered through NGAC’s survey, noting any themes that emerged from the responses. We will discuss the process of developing a qualitative survey using a reflective model to help shape our storytelling framework. Overall, we aim to shed light on how and why mandatory requirements can be a significant barrier to employment for individuals in the new generation LIS cohort.

Kate Davis

Local History Librarian, Connected Libraries

Author Bio

Kate Davis (she/her) is the Local History Librarian at Connected Libraries and a Co-Chair of the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC). As a member of NGAC, Kate has advocated for the needs of emerging library and information professionals, contributing to projects that promote inclusivity, flexibility and diversity across the sector. In her role at Connected Libraries, Kate is passionate about balancing archival management with community engagement, promoting the value of local history through programs which empower diverse communities to contribute to the collection and preservation of the present and past within the City of Casey.

Olivia Larobina

Scholarly Services Librarian, Deakin University

Author Bio

Olivia Larobina (she/her) is a Scholarly Services Librarian at Deakin University and a Co-Chair of the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC). During her time with NGAC, Olivia has contributed to initiatives that promote an inclusive and diverse profession, supporting the ever-evolving needs of emerging library professionals. In her role at Deakin Library, Olivia aims to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment for students and researchers, embracing new methods to make the research process more accessible and exciting.