Libraries Tasmania Executive Director and former ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher wins Redmond Barry award 

Canberra, 30 November 2023: Executive Director of Libraries Tasmania and former ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher has been awarded the 2023 Redmond Barry Award in recognition of her outstanding service to libraries and information services. The award is named after Sir Redmond Barry, founder of the State Library of Victoria and is the highest honour that can be bestowed on an individual who is not a qualified librarian or library technician.

Sue’s public advocacy for libraries began in the UK in the 2000s when she took on projects for the British Library and the Museums Libraries and Archives Council in the United Kingdom, working on a marketing strategy and action plan for a common identity and agenda for public libraries in England. Later, after moving to Australia, Sue worked on projects with libraries in Victoria, South Australia and nationally.

During her time as CEO, Sue transformed ALIA from a professional accreditation and member services organisation to an accomplished advocacy body whose views are routinely   sought by government and other stakeholders in the information industry. This was all achieved whilst retaining focus on ALIA’s key sustainability factors, maintaining membership and providing ongoing professional development and training opportunities for not just ALIA Members but the sector at large.

“ALIA went from strength to strength under Sue’s leadership, and the outcomes of her work continue to have impact for all Australians” said former ALIA President and current IFLA  President Vicki McDonald. “On a personal note, I have always valued her professionalism, enthusiasm, and energy. And, on more than one occasion I have benefited from her wise   counsel.” 

Congratulations also came from current ALIA President Jane Cowell. “On behalf ofthe ALIA Board and Executive, I send my sincere congratulations to Sue on this remarkable   achievement” she said. “Sue undertook many initiatives at ALIA that substantially promoted the value of the profession and its unique skills and expertise. We benefited greatly from   her decade of service and leadership”.

ALIA’s current CEO, Cathie Warburton added “It is fitting that today ALIA is launching a major output of a groundbreaking project initiated by Sue back in 2020. The Framework of Skills, Knowledge and Ethics will contribute to the vision for that project which is a diverse, valued and supported Library and Information Sector workforce.” 

Now as Executive Director at Libraries Tasmania Sue is steadfastly focused on improving library and information services for all Tasmanians. With a strong commitment to diversity, inclusion and access Sue is ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to a contemporary and relevant library service. 

Jan Richards AM, Chair of the Tasmania Library Advisory Board, said "Sue continues her outstanding career in libraries. I have worked closely with Sue since her arrival in Australia across national initiatives and Libraries Tasmania benefits from her insights, professionalism and integrity. All Tasmanians benefit from her focus on access and inclusion – not only in our public libraries but also across the services of the State Library of Tasmania and Tasmania Archives." 

Sue's contribution to the sector continues to go from strength to strength and from 1 January she will be Chair for the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) for the 2024-2025 calendar years. In receiving the Redmond Barry award, Sue joins an impressive list of previous recipients including politician the Hon Barry Jones, former Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Gough Whitlam, and former Director-General of the National Library of Australia Dr Anne-Marie Schwirtlich. 

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Photos above: ALIA Board Director Amy Walduck presents Sue McKerracher with the Redmond Barry Awards for 2023.