- BA Honours – Information Management, 1991-1994 – Northumbria University (UK)
Education and Outreach Librarian – NT Health
- Special Collections Coordinator, Alice Springs Public Library, Alice Springs
- Library Manager,Central Adelaide Local Health Network, Adelaide
- Library Manager, Supreme and Local Courts, Darwin
- Library Manager, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Batchelor (NT)
- Library and Information Services Coordinator, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville
- Senior Librarian, Courts Administration Authority, Adelaide
- Librarian, Aequus Counsel, Adelaide
- Training Consultant, Lexis Nexis AU, South Australia and Northern Territory
- ALIA Certified Professional
- Director - Australian Law Librarians Association, 2021 to present
- Northern Territory President - Australian Law Librarians Association 2021 to present
What I would like to accomplish as a Board Member?
In remote and rural Australia, libraries are the heart and soul of the communities. Whether it is a public/community library or a specialist library. Librarians provide access to global knowledge in a world of misinformation. Across outback Australia with its high levels of poverty and illiteracy we are the internet for many!
Our specialist libraries operate under increasingly difficult resourcing pressures due to a lack of staff and funding. Historically remote and rural libraries have not received the attention that our big city cousins have and yet, I would argue, they are disproportionately more critical in servicing the needs of remote and rural Australians. By leveraging the influence of ALIA, I would advocate for the better resourcing of outback libraries and hope to develop programs to engage with Indigenous Australians to consider a career in the library sector.
In short, I would represent remote and rural libraries at the highest level of the profession.
What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?
I have been fortunate in my career to have experienced a diversity of library environments, from the world’s largest law firm and scientific institute to remote specialist, public and community libraries.
Remote and rural areas libraries suffer not only from a lack of resourcing but also suitably qualified staff. My recent experiences at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education which offered its library as a community library to the residents of Batchelor and the Alice Springs Public Library, highlighted the importance of these libraries. Offering services beyond that of traditional services by providing a safe place to escape the reality of living in remote and rural Australia. Unfortunately, those libraries are at risk due to the lack of staff and funding. Of particular note is the lack of qualified librarians from Indigenous or rural communities. This must change if we are to make progress in closing the educational gap between mainstream Australia and rural and remote Australia.
As the peak professional body for the Library profession I see ALIA as a significant leader in bringing about the change needed to help libraries in remote and rural Australia thrive.
I am motivated by my passion for remote and rural Australia to be part of an ALIA Board that strives to lead that change. Providing education, training and advocacy to encourage people to consider being a library professional as an exciting and fulfilling career option.
What skills and experience would you bring to the Board?
With a 30 year career, across a diversity of libraries from, international law firms and legal publishers, academic and scientific institutions, community and Government departments encompassing from the United Kingdom through to urban, regional and remote Australia, I have many skills to bring to the ALIA Board.
Having held positions as a library manager and also operating as a sole librarian, I have a depth of experience in all operational aspects of managing a library and managing a diversity of teams with varying levels of experience and ability. From change management and stakeholder engagement, I build capacity within my teams and across libraries fostering a collaborative environment that translates in exceptional client services.
What are the three most important issues currently facing ALIA or the LIS workforce?
I would suggest that the most important issue as with many leading organisations is to maintain the vision and enterprise that made them a leader in the first place. Particularly within the context of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Many suggested that the internet would be the end of books and libraries, far from it! AI is a powerful tool that must be understood, embraced and harnessed for the benefit of the profession. In an age of misinformation the possibility for the misuse of AI can not be underestimated, it is up to the profession to provide leadership in the use of such information systems and their use.
Ongoing development in ensuring that the activities of the profession aspire to the ideals of addressing global climate and environmental goals through the ongoing development and application of sustainability goals.
Whilst there are numerous issues that need to be addressed I believe that the shortage of library professionals within the regions requires urgent attention. Attracting people is difficult, for all libraries, not only public libraries. Often public and community libraries are staffed by volunteers or people who don’t have library qualifications. Budgets are being cut and in the regions, the salaries are not as competitive as those in the major cities. There are many short term contracts being offered and therefore no long term job security. ALIA’s advocacy initiatives continue to address these issues but we need to look at the regions in more depth and provide pathways for people in these areas to look at studying and work in the regions, taking into account the tyranny of remoteness and the difficulty in accessing study opportunities.