Diana Oliver

Diana Oliver BA FALIA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1988

Diana Oliver is an outstanding contributor to librarianship and to the Library Association of Australia.

She has been chief librarian of Sutherland Shire Public Libraries since 1976, was deputy in that service from 1964, and previously held positions at Sydney Technical College and Ryde Municipal Library. She holds the preliminary and Registration Certificates of the Library Association of Australia, and was a foundation Associate.

Diana Oliver's participation in the activities of the LAA and its NSW Branch is vigourous and productive, encompassing all aspects and levels of education of library staff, publications, lobbying and policy development. She was NSW General Councillor from 1977 to 1979, has been a NSW Branch Councillor on a number of occasions, most recently from 1986. She has had a long term involvement as a committee member of the NSW Group of the Public Libraries Section.

Diana Oliver's interests are extensive and include local studies, library technicians, conservation, library management and industrial issues. She has been an active committee member and convenor of conferences and continuing education activities in many of these areas for the NSW Branch and the Public Libraries Section. She has been a moving spirit behind the very successful ‘No frills supervision' workshops for public library staff sponsored by the NSW Group of the Section.

For the past fifteen years Diana Oliver has compiled and edited the NSW Branch publication so you want to work in libraries: a guide to courses in librarianship in NSW and the ACT, a most valuable resource for potential entrants to the profession.

She represented the NSW Branch for some years on the Department of TAFE's Course Advisory Committee for the Library Practice Certificate, and in 1987 was joint NSW co-coordinator, with Faye Lawrence, of the multicultural library services component of the Commonwealth Assistance to Public Libraries Campaign.

Diana Oliver was a member of the AACOBS National Council from 1979 to its disbanding in 1988, serving two terms on the Standing Committee in 1983-84 and 1987-88. She contributed over a long period to the work of the AACOBS NSW Regional Committee, and is a member of the NSW Committee of ACLIS.

Her achievements on the Committee of Metropolitan Chief Librarians in Sydney are considerable, and include the establishment of the Working Party on Serials, membership of the Management Sub-Committee, production of funding submissions to government and the publication of the Union List of Periodicals in 1986.

Diana Oliver is a committed member and participant in the work of the Municipal Employees Union. From 1979 to 1985 she was deputy and chief librarians’ representative on the Management Committee of the Local Government Officers Branch of the Union, and she has been active in raising awareness and negotiating for improved conditions and salaries for public library staff.

Diana Oliver has always championed the broadest possible access to formal education for the staff of public libraries. She has attended hundreds of careers activities for many different organisations. She is ever ready to provide opportunities for students to observe and undertake work placements in the Sutherland Shire Public Libraries. She is widely regarded by local government officers, her professional colleagues and present and past staff as an excellent and effective library manager whose respect and concern for individuals not only enhances their capabilities but also the effectiveness of the library services she manages and the wider jurisdiction of which they are part.

In the period of her association with Sutherland Shire, Diana Oliver has introduced a number of innovative services, including joint school/community libraries in two isolate areas, and the Home Library Service which has been widely copied in New South Wales and other states. She has been a driving force in the introduction of computerised systems, and is regarded as an authority on corporate planning and devolution of responsibilities in public libraries. With Bernard Sargeant she represented the LAA on the NSW Local Government Association's Working Party on Corporate Management, which developed and published a manual designed to assist local government authorities to introduce corporate management techniques.

She is a champion of the public's access to free library services, and challenges the new orthodoxy of charging by research libraries for interlibrary loans.

The General Council of the Library Association of Australia considers Diana Oliver to be a most worthy recipient of the award of Fellowship of the Association.