Monday, 2 April 2007

Librarians as Change Agents

This is about lobbying. It is the title of an article in Information Today by Mary Alice Baish, the associate Washington affairs representative of the American Association of Law Libraries. I mention it because I spent Friday in Canberra - as it turns out the first day of the parliamentary hols (they're back in May for the budget session).

There is so much that we want to say, but we have too few people to say it - even comparied with American law librarians, who clearly have more than one lobbyist in Washington.

What's most interesting about the article? Three things.

First, the issues (this is a law librarian):
- Federal Research Public Access Act - open access to government-funded research
- Net neutrality
- strengthening the Freedom of Information Act
- copyright - legislation to reaffirm fair use
- orphan works (another copyright issue, active in Australia too)
These are all issues that are active, current and alive in Australia too.

Second, the section headed "fellow travellers", which is a list of friends. I have mentioned this before as an issue for us - we need friends and allies who share our goals and are interested in sharing the task of exercising influence.

Third, ten quick rules, a nice summary.

I guess that to be serious about lobbying, we need people who know what they are talking about, and a clear idea of the messages we want to communicate - about open access to information, copyright, the future of the Internet, support for libraries.

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