Jane Cowell*

CEO, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

*Jane is a candidate for President

What motivated you to seek election as an ALIA Director?
  • As an active ALIA member, I decided it was time for me to give more direct support to my industry association and to contribute at the Board level to continue to build an agile, responsive library industry association. Connecting with key stakeholders, strong partners and expand our reach across a wide variety of policy areas, such as health and wellbeing, to confirm the role of libraries as key pieces of the education and community health infrastructure for our communities.
  • We need strong professional voices at all levels to actively engage with existing and new advocacy efforts to build respect, value and an evidence base for the benefits of all libraries and library professionals within the community and within parent organisations.
  • I also want to support our Library Professionals and Allied Professionals to take a positive proactive approach to their career development and their roles in guiding the transformation of our organisations and our profession as new technologies continue to impact our business.

What skills and experience would you bring to the Board?
  • My previous professional experience includes working with State and Local Government and my current role reporting directly to a Board of Directors means I possess strong governance and policy development skills with a strong understanding of Board member responsibilities.
  • I am currently Secretary of the IFLA Public Libraries Section and have current knowledge of the work of IFLA with Public Libraries internationally building a strong network of passionate international colleagues in Library Associations globally.
  • As a long-term library professional who has worked in senior roles within the library profession for some time I bring strong strategic planning, empathetic leadership, and broad understanding of the issues facing the library industry both nationally and internationally.
  • Throughout my career I have experience at navigating a variety of political situations and influencing advocacy efforts to positive outcomes.

What are the three most important issues currently facing ALIA or the LIS workforce?

For our LIS workforce the three most important issues facing us are:

  1. Building the resilience of library professionals to sustain us through the continuous complex changes facing our industry and within our careers.
  2. Providing a strong, confident professional voice for advocacy efforts for the benefit of libraries and library professionals helping to position ALIA’s advocacy efforts on the role of libraries as valued partners in driving educational institutions, organisations, and local community resilience for the future.
  3. Professional development and continuous learning have been an essential contribution to my career. Supporting library staff to invest in themselves, career opportunities and professional development to support career advancement is key for a thriving industry member organisation such as ALIA  building a thriving well respected industry.