Changing Spaces Library Design Virtual Conference 2021


About the event

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions the ALIA board of Directors made the decision to hold the Changing Spaces Library Design Conference 2021 as a virtual event in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our members, staff and conference delegates. 

The Changing Spaces Library Design Conference 2021 was held as part of the Asia-Pacific Architecture Forum, an initiative of Architecture Media and the State Library of Queensland, and in association with the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section. As a result, we are able to offer a rich program of creative, innovative ideas about the very latest trends for school, public, academic and special libraries in Australia. The Changing Spaces conference showcased the best in contemporary library interiors and exteriors in Australia, and celebrated the investment in libraries made by our nation's institutions, corporations, local, state and territory governments. 

The conference took place virtually on 18 March 2021. Thank you to everyone who attended. 



Registration costs were $250.00 for ALIA members and $300 for non-ALIA members.



The conference program can be downloaded here.


Margaret Sullivan, Margaret Sullivan Studio

Margaret Sullivan is a national thought leader in assisting public libraries envision their preferred future. Margaret leads Margaret Sullivan Studio, a full-service strategy and design firm, collaborating with innovative library systems internationally. Since the firm’s founding in 2014, MSS has become the industry leader in re-envisioning the 21st century library for diverse and complex contemporary communities, with a focus on social justice and racial equity. Margaret has assisted over thirty public library systems, including New York Public Library, DC Public Library, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Richland Library, New Haven Free Public Library, Salt Lake City Public Library, Public Library, Chicago Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library and Memphis Public Library define their version of what a 21st century library can be through strategic planning, facilities master planning, visioning, programming, and interior design. Prior to establishing her own firm, Margaret worked for prestigious architecture firms including H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture as Director of Interior Design. In 2017, Margaret was named one of Interior Design Magazine’s Rising Stars.  


 Jill Benn, The University of Western Australia

Jill Benn is the University Librarian at the University of Western Australia (UWA).  Jill has significant experience in the leadership of libraries in higher education. She currently serves as Chair of the Council of Australian University Librarians, on the Boards of the International Association of University Libraries and Research Data Alliance, and as an elected staff representative on UWA Senate.   Her professional interests include leadership development, open access to information, and learning space design.  Jill’s commitment to high quality support with the University sector is recognised through the award of Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, and she is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Jo Cooper, City of Salisbury

Jo Cooper is the Manager Community Capacity & Learning at the City of Salisbury, South Australia. Over her 25 year career in libraries, Jo has developed and delivered library services in a range of diverse, multifunctional leadership roles. Jo has a particular interest in project management, funding and policy development and actively contributes to the SA Public Library network. This includes member roles on Public Libraries SA (PLSA) Executive Committee and the Public Libraries Standing Committee which is a statutory body of the Libraries Board of SA.





Joanne Smith, Hobsons Bay Libraries

Joanne has worked at Hobsons Bay Libraries during a period of significant growth. After 10 years in the Operations & Facilities role,  with 3 Library re-developments and an internal refurbishment under her belt she made a sideways role into the Collections & Digital Services role to help with the final stages of opening the Creative Technology Hub. Awarded the 2008 Margery C Ramsay Scholarship researching Revitalising Libraries for the Self-Serve Generation, Joanne is passionate about accessibility and excited by the ways that space design and technology can offer service choices to facilitate independent and supported access.

She’s just finished reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.



Sarah Slade, State Library Victoria

Sarah Slade is Director Enablers overseeing the Library’s Strategy, Infrastructure, People & Projects and Finance Branches. Between 2018-2020 Sarah was also the Director responsible for the Library’s $88.1M Vision 2020 redevelopment project and $20.1M BOSS2 Offsite collection storage project.  Sarah has worked at SLV for the past 15 years as Director Project Management Office, Head of Digital Engagement and Collection Services and Storage, Preservation & Conservation Manager.

Sarah’s background is in conservation and collection management. Before joining the State Library, she worked for a range of organisations including Artlab Australia, Scottish Museums Council, International Conservation Services, Australian National Maritime Museum and her own consultancy in both the United Kingdom and in Australia.


The conference is kindly supported by ArchitectureAU.comRaeco and State Library of Queensland.








More information

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