Leaders of the Australian library sector recognised at awards ceremony at ALIA National Conference    

Several outstanding leaders within the Australian library and information sector were recognised last week at an awards ceremony held during ALIA’s National Conference in Adelaide. ALIA President Jane Cowell announced the recipients of the HCL Anderson Award, Metcalfe Award and Library

Technician of the Year Award in front of an audience of over 500 conference delegates.

The HCL Anderson Award– the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an Associate member of ALIA - was awarded jointly this year to Dr Gabrielle Haddow and Geoff Strempel. Dr Haddow was awarded for her exemplary dedication to teaching and mentorship and for her profound impact on research and collaboration within the discipline. Dr Haddow is currently Associate Professor in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University.

Photos left (L to R): Dr Gabrielle Haddow; Geoff Strempel.

Upon receiving her award, Gaby said “This is a fabulous and completely unexpected honour for doing things that I love. Libraries play such an important role in our society, in so many

ways, and I feel very lucky to be part of it. Thank you, ALIA!"

Geoff Strempel was honoured for a distinguished career spanning almost forty years. As Director of the State Library of South Australia, Geoff’s leadership has resulted in a stronger library network within South Australia. He successfully established the statewide public library consortium which resulted in the ‘one card network’, an initiative requiring the cooperation of dozens of local Councils to connect the systems of over 130 libraries across the state.

 “I have loved every role I have had working in libraries over decades and have been pleased to work with colleagues locally and nationally to contribute to the strength of the library sector” Geoff said. “To be recognised by my peers through this award is an unexpected and treasured bonus.”

ALIA’s Metcalfe Award for 2024 - recognising high achievement by a personal financial member of ALIA in their first five years of practice in library and information services – was awarded to Emilia Bell. Through their commitment to ALIA groups, research, and inclusivity, Emilia has made a significant positive impact on the library and information services (LIS) sector. Emilia is currently the Coordinator (Evidence-Based Practice) at the University of Southern Queensland and was elected to the ALIA Board in the 2024 elections.

Photos right (top to bottom): Emilia Bell; Chloe Delaney.

For Emilia, receiving the Metcalfe award was a chance to acknowledge the important role of peers and colleagues in their professional development.

“It’s an honour to be recognised by my peers with the Metcalfe Award, and I'm grateful to have had opportunities to contribute to building an inclusive and impactful library and information services profession” they said. “The Award is also a testament to incredible colleagues and mentors who have provided support, encouragement, and guidance in the early stages of my career. I am deeply appreciative of them.”

Finally, the Library Technician of the Year award went to Chloe Delaney from Carindale Library in Queensland. Chloe was recognised for her outstanding level of professionalism in interactions with library customers and team members, her creative output for digital content and social media platforms showcasing Carindale Library’s offerings, and the development and successful implementation of a wellbeing strategy for Carindale Library.

"I am so proud to be part of an industry that is full of people who aren’t done learning, full of people who strive every day to make libraries better, and full of people who dare to use their voice to advocate for change" Chloe said."I am really passionate about wellbeing and mental health, and dedicated to ensuring that we have the education and resilience toolkits that we need to be able to support each other through this time of increasing demand in libraries."

This was the first time the awards have been presented at the ALIA National Conference dinner and the encouragement and positivity in the room on the night suggests that it will be a much anticipated tradition moving forward.

Visit the ALIA website to learn more about our awards.