Meet your committee

Moyra McAllister ALIA Retirees Convenor, Melbourne
Since graduating from Queens University, Belfast with a BSc and a Graduate Diploma in Library Studies, I have worked in Ireland, Canada and Australia in National School Special, University Parliamentary and Law Libraries and have been a Cataloguer, Acquisitions, Reference and Technical Services Librarian. I retired 7 years ago from the position of National Library Manager for the law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron. On retirement I spent 2 years as Copyright Adviser to ALIA. I've had a varied career, but it's always been in libraries and I've enjoyed every minute!

Throughout my career I've always been involved with professional associations, especially ALIA, and I was on the Board of Directors from 2001-2003. In 1993 I joined the Victorian Branch Mentoring Scheme and later, with Kerrie Ludekens, convened the Group Mentoring Scheme. My involvement with new members of the profession has been one of the most rewarding things I have done and it continues in my retirement.

Since retiring I have worked as a volunteer at the Brotherhood of St Laurence Library, the Melbourne Athenaeum Library and at the Melbourne University Archives.


Robin Hempel - Secretary/Treasurer ALIA Retirees Group Committee, Darwin
I was born in Goulburn NSW and grew up in Canberra. I graduated with an Arts Degree from the ANU and began my library career with the National Library in 1964. In a short time, I accepted a posting to Alice Springs where I met my future husband. As the public librarian in Alice, I worked with local schools and in the remote Aboriginal communities the library served such as Hermannsburg and Yuendumu. When I returned to Canberra, I pursued my interest in education and trained as a teacher and teacher librarian at Sydney University. Then in 1968 moved to Katherine where I had the opportunity to work in education as a teacher librarian and adult educator. I became involved in working to provide library services to a number of rural and remote regions of the Northern Territory, including Aboriginal Communities. It became my mission to provide the best and most equitable library services possible using any and every available resource including whatever could be obtained through grants and submissions. I managed public library services in towns as far apart as Alice Springs and Katherine and established school/community libraries at Barunga (near Katherine), Kalkaringi (Wave Hill) and Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Islands. I worked as a school library advisor, teacher and teacher librarian at St Paul’s Primary School and Casuarina Senior College in Darwin. In 1995, I moved from the education sector to join the staff of the Northern Territory Library (NTL) where I worked first as Manager of its rural branch at Taminmin Community Library before stints in Darwin as a Project Librarian and as Manager of Reference Services In October 2007 I retired from full time library work only to be co-opted by Charles Darwin University where I worked at Palmerston Campus s as a TAFE Lecturer and Workplace Assessor in Library Studies until finally embracing full time retirement in 2010. I became a member of the ALIA Retirees Committee in 2008 and I can’t stress enough the value it has been in terms of camaraderie, support and networking. It has provided the opportunity of “Staying Connected” to the events, programs and service offered by ALIA and libraries on a national, state and local level.



Kerry Smith - ALIA Retirees Group Committee, WA

Like many of my former students, librarianship was not my first work choice, having started working life straight after high school as a clerk in the Australian public service in downtown Sydney.   But because I became engaged and was to marry, I lost my permanency so left the public service and became what was known in the sixties as a “girl Friday” for the Medical Society at the University of Sydney, a wonderful introduction to society politics, and would probably still be there, running the office, if my geologist husband had not received a post doctoral scholarship to the University of Manitoba, Canada.  We moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, for a year where I first worked for an insurance company and later as a library assistant at the University in a faculty library.  Then it was onto upstate New York and because I did not have a work visa, I enrolled as an undergraduate at the State University of New York in Binghamton. We returned to Australia in 1970, settled in our home town Dee Why, NSW and then Ray was transferred to Western Australia (WA) for the mining boom at that time.  And we’ve been living in Perth, WA ever since.

It was then time for a family and that was when I started my very part time studies in librarianship: first an undergraduate degree which enabled me to work in the mining industry as a special and one person librarian for 10 years.  I moved to Curtin University on a short term contract in February 1991, liked academia and stayed, and because of my geoscience information interest, pursued a Masters in science and technology policy and used this knowledge to prepare my PhD Performance measurement  of Australian  geoscientific minerals researchers in  the changing funding regimes,  which was granted in 2004.  I became Head of the library school in its many guises and retired from Curtin University in 2013. 

My ALIA involvement began with my student membership in 1976, and I later got involved in what was then Branch and later General Council, was the national president in 1997, and was made an ALIA Fellow in 2002.     In 1997 I attended my first IFLA conference in Copenhagen and missed few, though now that I have retired, I am drawing away from my IFLA committee involvement and the conferences. 

There is a life outside of libraries including grandchildren, walking, swimming, photography, a strong involvement and commitment to WA’s native flora and the Wildflower Society of WA Inc. that represents this, and trying to grow WA wildflowers.  I was also a local government councillor for the Town of Cambridge, Western Australia from 1995-2003. 

Mylee Joseph ALIA Retirees Group Committee

For information about Mylee follow the link


Lorna Prendergast - ALIA Retirees Group Committee, Bairnsdale, Vic
Due to living all of my life in the beautiful south-eastern corner of Australia, at Bairnsdale, I found obtaining further education extremely difficult to say the least. The nearest university was at Melbourne, about 280 kms away. So on turning sixteen I passed the Commonwealth Entrance Exam and became a telephonist at the Bairnsdale Telephone Exchange during the last year of World War II. After six tremendous years, I had no option but to resign when I married Jim, in 1950, as that was the policy!

In 1967, I had the opportunity to work at the East Gippsland Public Library, following in the footsteps of the famous Australian author, Hal Porter. Our library service covered 21,056 square kms over some of the most rugged and isolated areas in Victoria. People in these outlying districts loved to see the "Bookie" coming (Keith Ridout has recently completed 45 years on the Run). After studying for my ALAA by correspondence, in 1972 I was invited to join the staff at the Bairnsdale Technical School Library and remained there for about 15 years until the Senior School became a TAFE College. During my time at the Tech, the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (now a branch Of Monash Uni.) was established at Churchill (about 160 kms away) which afforded me the opportunity to complete a BA and BEd there; and a Grad Dip Ed Admin from Hawthorn Institute of Education. This stood me in good stead when I was appointed Librarian in charge of the East Gippsland TAFE College Library. Establishing a new library was a challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed thanks to the help I received from the VATCL librarians and the computer groups. Jim and I love to travel, so while on leave I took every opportunity to meet overseas librarians and check out their libraries, this was particularly useful when setting up the internet as they were a little ahead of us at that time.
I enjoyed every aspect of my library work. Remarks from proud mothers that their children had excelled due to the books available at the public library; or seeing the Technical school girls and boys take their positions in the workforce: or helping provide an opportunity for older TAFE students, like the one who said, "TAFE has given me another chance in life", was the icing on the cake. I still marvel at the changes in information dissemination in my is a long way from when the library was a few books held in the sports cupboard during my school years, to the internet and the wealth of knowledge, so readily available, affording people the opportunity to study almost anything anywhere in the even beats the old adage ‘The right book in the right hand at the right time!’ I retired in 1993 and have continued to enjoy my family, travel, research and voluntary library work with the East Gippsland Family History Group and the Public Library. My husband, Jim is a military historian, author and artist, so between us we rarely have a dull moment.


Laurie Urane - ALIA Retirees Group Committee, NSW
I think I was the longest serving Library Manager in Australia, did about 34 years at it. Currently secretary of the Haberfield Labor Party and about to print a book on the history of a sailing ship. I gave a short paper at  a library conference about a year ago on the history of computers in NSW public libraries. Also did a whole thing on the funding of public libraries for Leichhardt Council, got Albo when he was Deputy Prime Minister to actually take a proposal for the federal funding of public libraries, it got as far as the bureaucrats in Canberra. Done a few other bits and pieces as well.

2011 to 2014 Casual Librarian Royal Australian Navy, Volunteer Electorate of Grayndler ( Data entry )

2004 to 2011 Purchasing and sales Millennium Houze, both in Australia and Europe, Private research into the history of the ship “Rialto” involved both online and personal research

1979 to 2003 Manager Hurstville City Library and St. George Regional Museum