Why should you join ALIA? Because THIS.

Some of my (albeit not huge) audience may not be aware of what transpired last week at Rockdale Town Hall in Sydney.

On the morning of Monday 18th February Sue McKerracher, ALIA’s new-ish Executive Director, sent an email to a bunch of members that she knew in Sydney. She told us that Rockdale has been waiting for a new library for 30 years; that the matter was going to be discussed at a Council meeting that Wednesday evening; and that the building of a new library was in danger of being passed over yet again, this time in favour of a new swimming pool.

Sue asked us to come to the Council meeting to support the library proposal, and to pass the word to anyone else we knew to do the same. Sue arranged to have a speaking spot on the agenda. Over the next 48 hours the message went out by email, Twitter, Facebook and, importantly, personal conversations.

(Full discloser: I wasn’t able to attend the Council meeting, but I did what I could to assist with promotion.)

About 15 people ended up coming to the meeting, and Sue spoke in favour of funding a new library. She wasn’t the only one – from what I heard there were a few local citizens that also spoke, and the Mayor made a strong case for the library. Based on the Tweets there were some excellent arguments put forward in favour of the new library, and some bad arguments put forward against it.

And the result? The new library will go ahead, after a narrow victory of 7-6.

For those that say ALIA never did nuthin for them, I’d love you to talk to the people and the library staff in Rockdale. This worked because ALIA is fundamentally a network of people with shared values, interests and goals. If members weren’t paying their dues, Sue wouldn’t have been able to act on this situation. This is Sue’s job, because we pay for this to be her job. She wouldn’t have known the people that she was able to contact if it weren’t for the ALIA network. Of course it’s possible to get this stuff done without paying membership fees to support a national infrastructure, but it’s much harder and it takes more time.

I want to ask my audience: what did you do to help Rockdale get a new library? If you are a member of ALIA, you did something. Your membership made this happen. Thank you.

ALIA supports libraries. It’s that simple. If you work in libraries and you want to be supported, you should join ALIA.


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