2020 Candidate Update

supplementary candidate information

To assist Members in the assessment of candidates for the 2020 ALIA Board of Directors election, we asked the candidates to provide a little more information about why they nominated and the skills they would bring to the Board.

Individual candidate profiles can be accessed on the ALIA Board election page.  



Helen Ebsworth   Sophie Farrar        Stefanie Gaspari


Justine Hyde         Vanessa Little       Annette McGuiness


Atlanta Meyer      Clare Thorpe         Diane Velasquez   Emily Wilson


Helen Ebsworth

Helen is a candidate for both the Institutional Director position and a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

I am seeking re-election for a second term to contribute to the future of the Association. I believe library and information professions are critical to an informed and democratic society and our association is a great advocate for the ongoing relevance of our varied sector.  After nearly 2 years on the Board, I wish to provide continuity for current Board business and directions.

A range of voices at the ALIA Board table will create an even stronger association. I have a diverse background in library and education in various settings.  I work in an organisation that encompasses State library, archives and public library functions. I have lived and worked in rural, regional and urban areas. This means I can bring diversity and a range of perspectives to the Board discussions.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

I bring strategic thinking, a questioning attitude and strong leadership skills to the Board. 

As an experienced member of advisory groups, committees and associations and as senior manager for many years I have skills in advocacy and governance.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

In my opinion, the three top issues facing our association are:

  • Relevance to members – encouraging and retaining membership will ensure a strong future for the Association.

  • The critical links between the industry, the education pathways and the profession of the future.

  • Advocacy – continuing to emphasise our critical role in building an information literate society and the impact we have for our clients and communities. Strong advocacy should lead to greater visibility and, ideally, more secure funding. 

These themes are all part of the current focus of the Association and I’d like to continue to work with the Board for another term if re-elected.

Sophie Farrar

Sophie is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

Beyond my passion for the profession and desire to contribute more, I believe in what ALIA stands for and what they strive to do for the industry in Australia, for example; promoting respect for diversity; empowering people with information; and adhering to evidenced-based approaches to research and decision making. The 2019 TIK campaign, in particular, caught my attention and I am motivated to work with and for ALIA and its members to communicate powerful messages about the importance of the work of library professionals and the place libraries deserve to hold in society.   

What skills can you bring to the Board?

I have something to offer the Board and in turn, ALIA’s members. I am an organised, effective, and hard-working professional who takes great pride in the things I commit myself to. I approach problems with an open mind and like to ask questions and talk through issues in order to reach informed decisions. I’m a clear, analytical thinker who is genuine, honest, and fair. I have varied professional skills and experiences to bring to the Board, as well as strong emotional intelligence. I also recognise the opportunity to develop skills through being on the Board and I am open to learning with and from others.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

Three important issues facing both ALIA and the LIS profession that I feel particularly strongly about are: improving digital inclusion for all Australians by addressing those barriers that we can assist to remove, such as digital ability; the development of inclusive library environments that cater for our diverse population and ensure all feel welcome and able to make use of and enjoy library spaces and collections; and finally, the challenge of nurturing and empowering potential leaders throughout the sector, and at varying levels, to ensure a strong future in both LIS education and professional settings. 

Stefanie Gaspari

Stefanie is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

A passion for all things Library. I made the decision to commit my career to the LIS profession a number of years ago and in doing so adopted a personal mantra to ‘expect more’ and a professional mission to disrupt education through the lens of the library. Students and school communities need school libraries. I was motivated to seek election as an ALIA Director to champion the profile of school libraries and the role of those who work in school libraries. 

What skills can you bring to the Board?

Optimism. Business acumen. Strategic planning and leadership. School library management expertise. A commitment to life-long learning. Ideation. Leading teams. Professional speaking. Agile decision-making. A consultative approach. The desire to give back to the LIS profession.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

  • Leveraging synergies across school, tertiary and public libraries.

  • Collaborative partnerships with governments, education and industry. 

  • Strategic leadership on the expectations and delivery of ALIA membership experiences.

Justine Hyde

Justine is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

After 20+ years working in and around libraries, I (hopefully) have a lot of accumulated skills and experience that will be of value in the role of Director. I’m motivated by wanting to see our profession have a strong voice and impact on issues that matter, whether that’s copyright and e-book purchasing, or broader civic topics such as equality and the environment, which I believe we have a role in shaping as a profession.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

My most useful skills in the context of the board are problem-solving, and strategic and creative thinking, as well as advocacy and influencing experience. I’m an excellent communicator with experience in the media and a track record of writing about library-related issues for newspapers and journals. I like to get stuff done, not just talk about it.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

This summer has already shown that the climate crisis is the biggest issue facing all Australians. ALIA should lead the profession in being proactive about ways we can support our communities at this time and into the future.

Decolonisation and better representation and inclusiveness in LIS workforces, collections, services and programs is critical to ensure all Australians have equal access to information.

Developing the next generation of library leaders will help address the likely skills shortage as the current senior members of the LIS community hit retirement age. ALIA needs to lead education and development to support our rising stars.

Vanessa Little

Vanessa is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

There are three important motivators for me seeking election. They are:

  • I want to continue to continue my contribution to shaping the LIS profession and its Association.  I would bring strategic vision coupled with a real passion for the importance and value of our profession.

  • Our profession needs it professionals to advocate, now more than ever, for the importance of the role we play in all library sectors and I want to be active in this advocacy.

  • I feel that my experience as a past President would be of some value to the Board and the Association.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

I possess a broad range of skills and experience including:

  • Experience and understanding of libraries in three states / territories.

  • Experience working in local, state and hybrid government structures. 

  • Passion for profession and the role ALIA plays in it.

  • An ability to mentor newer Board members through my experience as a past President. 

  • Experience with organisations such as National and State Libraries Australia, Australian Public Libraries Alliance, Adult Learning Australia, Local Government Managers Australia, Learning Cities, demonstrating good networks and collaborative skills.

  • Strong leadership, some creativity and a certain amount of tenacity as evidenced by the range of roles I have undertaken from the delivery of services to strategic planning and policy development. 

  • Strong governance skills from my time as ALIA President and from working with a range of Boards and Cabinets.

  • An ability to turn my hand to many things as evidenced by being given additional roles to fulfil – the National Arboretum Canberra, ACT Cemeteries, a wholesale nursery, an outdoor school and a linen company. 

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

  • Creating a better understanding of the role and importance of libraries and librarians in an increasingly digital world.

  • Attracting people with the right skills and attitudes to the profession.

  • Educating our new and current professionals with flexible skills to future proof our libraries and the profession.

Annette McGuiness

Annette is a candidate for both the Institutional Director position and a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

I am a person who is motivated by ‘being of service’ and by wanting to make a contribution that benefits others (hence my career choice).  I have been a member of ALIA for over 25 years and over these years I have been ‘fairly’ active in the local ACT library sector. As my experience and industry connections have grown so too has my motivation to make a greater contribution and to make this at a broader (national) level.  Being an ALIA Director would be the perfect fit to achieve this desire.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

All candidates will bring a matrix of library or associated information management knowledge, skills and experience and a level passion for enhancing the work of ALIA for its members. In addition to these, I believe I bring: a high level of integrity and a deep respect for other people and their views and contributions; I bring an ‘open mind’ and the ability to listen, and then listen some more.  I love working with words and I have the ability to digest and synthesise large amounts of information. I also enjoy finding solutions to problems and I am always looking at how things may be done better or differently.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

There are many important issues facing ALIA and/or the profession and there is already good work being done to meet challenges, but of course more can and should be done.  Three that resound with me are:

a) The perception of the value of the library and how can we best improve our promotion and communication to ensure appropriate funding support to provide the best possible spaces, resources and professional support to our clients and community.   

b) How do we - in the context of a) and with constant time pressure, equip new, current and future library staff with skills (i.e. professional education, training and development support, and then work opportunities to apply the learned skills) and enable them thrive in environments requiring constant innovation, change and efficiencies.

c) How do we best cooperate and collaborate as both content producers and consumers to provide easy and cost-effective access and unique and/or valuable digitised information, resources and collections.

Atlanta Meyer

Atlanta is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

Firstly, I would like to extend warm congratulations to the other nine nominees for the General Board Director positions.

In 2013 I attended my first IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Singapore. I was inspired by the words from the outgoing IFLA President, Ingrid Parent who encouraged all delegates during the closing ceremony, quoting the following from the New Zealand Public Libraries Strategic Framework: ‘Think globally, Act nationally, and Deliver locally.’ 

Seeking election as an ALIA Director is an opportunity for me to act nationally. An opportunity to listen to others and share these stories that matter; an opportunity to influence decision makers and advocate for our libraries and profession; an opportunity work with the Association’s members to overcome challenges and find ways to improve and move forward.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

The most important skill that I can bring to the Board is that I am a Librarian who is passionate about the role of all libraries within their communities and societies. 

I have a network of library colleagues from around the world that I have built up during the two year INELI-Oceania program and within my involvement with IFLA since 2017. These colleagues have shared ideas, experiences and provided valuable input that broaden my knowledge and understanding of how librarians and information professionals work around the world to support their communities and to fight for libraries.

I find it valuable to work within a team environment where everyone can collaborate, contribute, have the freedom to express their opinions and together achieve the desired outcome.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

  • Changes and Trends
In order to deliver on its vision, values and priorities, the Association needs to stay ahead of worldwide changes and trends. These include technological and societal changes, educational trends, and data protection and privacy challenges. Some of these changes and trends can be very challenging, uncertain, complex and move at a fast pace. 
  • Opportunities for young LIS professionals
How do we keep young LIS professionals committed and engaged in the library field? By providing opportunities for these new and emerging professionals to become involved in preparing libraries for the future. Opportunities to work with experienced leaders in the library field who will share their knowledge and allow young professionals to learn and become future leaders.
  • Every librarian an advocate!
In the IFLA Global Vision Summary Report the fifth opportunity is ‘we need more and better advocates at all levels.’ Advocacy is a very important issue and librarians and LIS professionals at all levels needs a deeper understanding of Advocacy. If people don’t know what we as librarians do, it’s our own fault.

Clare Thorpe

Clare is a candidate for both the Institutional Director position and a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

I see membership of ALIA as a contributing factor to my career journey.  The access to professional development activities and the PD program, the people I have met and networks I have made, and the opportunity to develop my skills through participating in events as an attendee, speaker and organiser have all brought a richness to my professional experience that I would not otherwise have had. In 2020, I find myself at a point in my career and personal life where I feel that I have the skills required for ALIA Board membership, my employer’s support and the time needed to fully commit to the requirements of the Board role. My personal value statement is to “contribute to the success of others” and I want to give back to ALIA as an organisation and to my fellow members.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

I have been working in libraries for almost 20 years, in a range of client service, collection management, information systems, policy and leadership roles. I have a deep knowledge of the business of library and information services having worked across sectors and as a library educator. My extensive experience of policy development, governance and strategic planning in libraries directly relates to the role of ALIA Board. As an evidence-based practitioner I bring a rigorous approach to decision making and skills in communicating with influence to demonstrate value and impact to our stakeholders.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

Promoting, improving and securing the future of library and information services in Australia. ALIA is developing a track record in leveraging opportunities to tell compelling stories of how libraries contribute to society, through measures such as the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Because access to information, literacy and education is the foundation on which the Sustainable Development Goals stand, ALIA’s advocacy work in this space must continue and escalate particularly in at risk sectors, such as in schools and local communities, where libraries are not recognised or valued.

Skills development for current and future professional challenges. ALIA has an important role in ensuring the high standard of people employed in our dynamically changing profession. The lifespan of a library qualification is shrinking and the need for individuals to engage in lifelong professional learning is critical. For example, I work in the academic sector where roles in research data, digital literacy, user experience and open education require new and updated skill sets. As the accrediting body for LIS education, I would also encourage ALIA to review the pathways and barriers into library employment, to make our profession an accessible career choice for people from a more diverse range of backgrounds. 

Review the ALIA membership offer to ensure it matches ALIA’s values and meets the needs of current and potential members. Membership of ALIA has been a part of my career toolkit however I recognise that this may not be the experience of all members. I would like to work with Board to listen, learn and understand what would make membership more rewarding and valued to current members and non-members, both personal and institutional members.

Dr Diane Velasquez

Diane is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

My motivation was to give something back to my profession and to assist the organisation. As someone who spent 23 years in corporate organisations, I have a unique skill set and believe it would be of value to ALIA.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

My skills include management and leadership skills along with marketing. I have an MBA in management as well as the Master of Library Science and PhD in Information Science. Working as a program director at UniSA has enabled me to expand my knowledge of the industry and how we can work together with them.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

Succession planning for the LIS profession. Marketing of our programs and materials. Technologies continuously changing face as it is applied to libraries and having employees and managers who understand it.

Emily Wilson

Emily is a candidate for a general Director position.

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?

Being involved in my profession though collaborative committee work – for conferences, campaigns and events has always been important to me and is significant part of my own personal values. I believe advocacy is required to highlight the value of libraries and positively capture the attention of those making decisions, and funding our industry.  To do this we need to participate. 

From a personal viewpoint, I am looking to the next stage of my career. The Board offers me the opportunity to influence the profession outside of my current employment.

What skills can you bring to the Board?

I bring energy, enthusiasm and a useful mix of experience and knowledge gained from working in collecting and lending institutions. I have strong networks and trusted relationships gained during my time as an ALIA State Manager. 

I am a collaborative and inclusive leader and value consultation and conversation and have strong management, administration, marketing and communication skills. 

I also have the skills required of the 21st Century, in particular, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving and transformational leadership strengths.

What are the three most important issues facing ALIA or the LIS profession?

Ensuring that our libraries, and our professional association, are innovating and dynamic and not ossified. We need to remain relevant and interesting whilst also examining power and privilege, and be welcoming and accessible for all. 

The need to take on the necessary upskilling and professional development required for an innovative and sustainable future, whilst trying to continue ‘business as usual’ requirements, with reduced budgets and staffing. LIS also needs to prepare the next generation with both the technical skills needed for employment, and also the commitment to the fundamental tenants of the profession –- vital in the face of the commercialisation of information and the need to discern fact from fake news. 

Navigating the change in collections – physical to digital. To provide a better user-oriented service, the digital sphere and eLending environment need better publisher licensing models, along with less barriers and restrictions to access. 


want to know more?

Information about the 2019-2020 Board of Directors can be found on the Board of Directors webpage

Further information about the ALIA Board of Directors election is available at this link.

Questions about the conduct of the election should be directed to CorpVote at support@corpvote.com.au.

If you'd like to know more about the work of the ALIA Board, please contact the ALIA Board of Directors.