ALIA Blog Article

ALIA Blog: Cathie Warburton heads to Hobart 

Cathie traveled with ALIA’s COO Nicole Barnes to Hobart earlier this month to host a Leadership and Innovation Roundtable and to meet as many people as possible from various parts of the library and information services sector. Read some of the highlights below. 

We met with Mary Blake, a teacher librarian who manages not one but two libraries – the Aboriginal Education Library and the English as an Additional Language Library. Mary has managed these libraries for 12 years providing important and much needed resources for teachers and students. To expand the reach of the Aboriginal Education Library, The Orb website has been developed with a collection of online resources that assists the teaching of Tasmanian Aboriginal histories and cultures. 

When asking Mary about her career I was fascinated to learn that Mary used to be the “Flying Librarian”. Working as a consultant in the 1990s Mary used to travel to visit clients around Tasmania and I reckon she had one of the best business cards I’ve seen!



Next stop was TASTafe where we met first with CEO, Grant Dreher.  TAS Tafe has entered a new phase – from 1 July it transitioned out of the Tasmanian State Service and became a not for profit government business. It is early days but there has already been cooperation with Libraries Tasmania to identify how Tasmania’s regional libraries can offer access to the new TasTAFE Virtual Campus. 

The next day we met with TasTAFE Librarian Hannah Vander Helm who gave us a great overview of the services provided by the library and the ways they anticipated students’ needs at different stages of the semester and adjusted the support provided by the library. Hannah also told us about the great hospitality courses at the Hobart Drysdale Campus and how she tried to visit that library as often as she could – especially towards the end of the semester when the results of the bakery students’ efforts were hard to resist!

Sue McKerracher, Executive Director Libraries Tasmania kindly arranged a series of meetings for us with her executive team Anita Planchon, Robyn Murfet, Ross Latham and Natalie Brown and staff from the State Library, Collections, Archives, the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts and Hobart Public Library. Sue also provided a wonderful introduction to the Leadership and Innovation Roundtable with some thoughts on the library profession - its foundations and its future.  

Caroline Homer, Manager State Library and Archive Service took us on a tour which included the amazing collection of convict records and a hive of activity with staff working in audio visual digitisation, conservation and archives. It was inspiring to see the care and passion shown by these professionals at work.  





Left to right: Gaynor Tollard (Conservation Officer), Stephanie McDonald (Conservator) and Caroline Homer (Manager, State Library and Archive Service)


We were then taken on a tour of Hobart Library by Dee Scott and Anna-Marie Scott-McGuiness. It was a lot of fun to see the various activities underway and hear about the programs like the Home Library Service which ensures people who are housebound are still able to enjoy books from the library. This service is able to happen through the work of volunteers who deliver the collections put together by library staff in these wonderful purple tote bags.

One of my favourite memories of Hobart Library was the Book Swap where children are encouraged to write their own book and then have it available on the library shelves for others to read. Self-published in an instant! 

Ollie Spring’s first book donated to the Book Swap was “The Potato Chip”. On returning to Hobart Library Ollie was horrified to discover that Lam had claimed the book as their own. Ollie’s second book “The Name Stealer” takes the reader through the emotional roller-coaster and moral outrage that ensued. Ollie is an aspiring writer and library professional of the future with an innate understanding of the complexities of moral rights and the use of art as an advocacy tool.  


Dee Scott, Anna-Marie Scott-McGuiness standing  
behind the home library service in more ways than one!    



Ollie Spring – writer and actvist



Ross Lathan, Tasmania’s State Archivist, gave us a sneak peak inside the new Geilston Bay Archives Repository. It is a cavernous space gleaming with new shelving, stack tracks and sensor lighting. All it needs now are the archives themselves to be transferred from their existing site. This was a massive infrastructure project overseen by Ross which will see Tasmania’s archives securely stored for many more years to come.

Mary Lijnzaad is Library Manager at Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). I was lucky enough to visit MONA in my own time when I spent the weekend in Hobart. Of course I made sure I found the library, or should I say libraries because there are three of them at MONA. The White Library by Wilfredo Prieto which is part of the exhibition, the actual MONA library and the new library that is under construction to house the ever increasing collection.  

Ross Latham at Geilston Bay Archives repository 


Entrance to MONA Library                  Christoff Kartsoff