Thoughts and perspectives as a new graduate at the ALIA 2024 National Conference

by Louise Warren | May 13, 2024 |

The national conference logo

I began planning my year and found that there were only a few ALIA events available, with the national event being held in Adelaide for the first time, on the 6-10th May. Before considering attending, I had visited all the capital cities on the eastern seaboard, I decided to participate, partly to familiarize myself with the city and partly to attend the conference. The challenge for me was knowing a few people there and getting used to the YHA environment and cooking. 

Walking view of Adelaide

I found the city to be highly walkable and today I figured out where the free buses and trams were. Some things that were different from Sydney were the public transport fares (with options for peak, off-peak, visitors, concession, and other tickets) and the bus schedules (with many starting at 8 am, which in Sydney wouldn’t work). On Sundays, there were limited buses and reduced shopping hours (most shops were open from 10 am to 5 pm), with much of the population found in and around the shopping strip of Rundel Mall. Other areas of the city had a scant amount of people, which felt a little strange.

a metal bird An artistic mural on a building sculptures inside metal boxes

Another interesting observation was the many 8, 9, and 10-story buildings side by side, which I thought could at times add to the wind factor. Based on what I have observed, Adelaide CBD has a distinct country vibe with a strong influence on art and culture, particularly evident in its public sculptures. There is a wide variety of food, art, and libraries to explore, which may have been influenced by Melbourne, considering the proximity of the two capital cities.


The truth or dare program

The national conference had an overall theme,  truth and dare which followed throughout all the presentations, there was a lot to be mentioned about challenges and pushing back against overall issues. The conference covered a large array of industry challenges, including working with Indigenous peoples, expanding beyond traditional library roles, implementing AI in libraries, the baby boomer generation retiring with a smaller uptake of younger counterparts to take their place, and facilitating people’s access to library services. These topics seem quite relevant and thought-provoking. A diverse array of presenters, highlighted the crucial role of libraries in surpassing outdated ideals. An example was provided by Northern Beaches Council’s Forestville library who operated 24/7, even after staff had left for the day. Other discussions focused on Intelligent Material Management Systems (IMMS) using RFID tags to take an item to the located source, freeing up time for library staff to focus on other library tasks. A further discusion on the need for institutions to grow professional literature collections in public and special libraries.

Reasons to research number 1

Reasons to research number 2


During my time at the conference, I was given a first-timer’s pin and wore it throughout the time to engage with members of the library community like library vendors. 

Conference first timers pin

Overall I was glad to attend and meet people across the country, which was nice. In future, I would like to see more presentations about employment pathways for graduates starting into the industry. 


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