Day two of our trip began at the State Library of South Australia where we were met by the Director of the Library Geoff Strempel who is also on ALIA’s Professional Pathways Advisory Board. In addition to leaning about existing programs where ALIA collaborates with the State Library of SA we were able to explore future opportunities around the delivery of short courses and the joint development of video content for media campaigns showcasing the variety of work undertaken by those working in libraries.
ALIA’s Liz Bradtke met with the State Library’s Manager, Communications and Marketing Lucy Guster. Lucy gave an overview of some of the work being done at the library to ensure its long-term sustainability and value to the South Australian community. In addition to their recent brand and logo re-design and the rollout of the online ‘The Stories that Make Us’ initiative showcasing tales from within the State Library, the team have been heads-down in some extensive consultation and planning to re-align the services and spaces of the library to better accommodate and reflect how people are using them.
We were then joined by Hanlie Erasmus, Associate Director, Public Library Services. Hanlie is a passionate and deeply knowledgeable leader in public libraries whose role is to manage the One Card network on behalf of Library Board South Australia. She was excited to share with us the work being done on a re-brand of the One Card network as well as the new SA Libraries Performance Framework which creates benchmarks so that public library services can better measure and report their performance.
A memorable part of our meeting with Hanlie was hearing her reflect on her early library career in South Africa. Hanlie shared an exhilarating moment when she heard that Nelson Mandela had been freed and apartheid was no longer. Hanlie managed a library that had only been accessible to white people by law. On hearing the news Hanlie rang the bell, opened the doors and welcomed everyone into the library, black and white. Following this Hanlie implemented a number of programs to ensure the library was there for the whole community. It was a reminder that we can’t take our freedoms and privileges for granted.
Following these meetings we received a tour of the library from Manager, Future Services Andrew Piper and Project Librarian, Future Services (and former ALIA Board Member) Emily Wilson. A highlight was the spectacular Mortlock Wing which houses the exhibition bays, quiet study areas and the Sir Josiah Symon Library.
Emily and Andrew also filled us in on the project to re-activate the State library’s historic Institute. A key part of the library’s overall project to revitalise services and spaces, the re-activation of the Institute will help in developing and facilitating learning programs that invite participation and contribute to the wellbeing of the community, including a ‘Possum Magic Corner’ thanks to a collaboration with children’s author Mem Fox.
Next up it was a trip to the Federal Court of Australia to meet with Georgia Livissianos Manager, Library and Information Services. In a peaceful, 9th floor library with views across the city of Adelaide and into the hills, we heard about the work that Georgia and her team do as law librarians, managing the extensive legal reference collections and catering to the research needs of 165 judges, 110 registrars, their staff, court experts and many more.
We finished the visit with a tour of the library and adjoining floors, where we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the judge’s chambers – those hallowed spaces where laws are made and lives changed.