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Tuesday, 25 March 1980
Page: 950

The PRESIDENT - For the information of honourable senators, I present the second annual report of the Parliamentary Library for 1979. The report describes the activities of the Library and the Legislative Research Service in 1979 and points towards changes in Parliament's information services that could come in the not too distant future. Those changes are relevant to a management review by external consultants of the Parliamentary Library, Joint House Department and the Department of Parliamentary Reporting Staff. They are also relevant to fairly rapid changes in information, science and technology and the inevitable effect that these will have on reader, research services and departmental organisation. The steady growth in research and reference requests which was noted in the 1978 report has continued. The increased activities of parliamentary committees have been reflected in the greater number of both general and subject references requests received in 1979.

The need of senators and members for current information, including quick access to audio and audio-visual material has continued to grow. The overall growth in requests could be partly attributable to the information overload to which modern parliamentarians are exposed as well as the complexity of many issues before them. The number of research assistants now working for senators and members has also increased demands on the Library and research services. There has been an increase in demands for current news, specific reference material, digests, background papers and information analysis. There has been a decline in the number of book loans from 17,458 in 1978 to 14,271 in 1979. I believe that honourable senators would wish me to record our appreciation of the work of the staff of our Library. I commend the report to the House.

I inform honourable senators that the Parliamentary Librarian, Mr Harold Weir, has been elected to the position of fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists in England. This honour was bestowed on Mr Weir for his influence on the development of the information services to this Parliament. The Institute is the first professional body with world-wide graduate membership in the field of information science and it promotes and maintains high professional standards and qualifications. On behalf of the chamber, I congratulate Mr Weir on his election.

Ordered that the paper be printed.

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