Enid Roberts

Enid Roberts BA (Hons) DipEd FALIA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1991

During a career in librarianship of more than thirty years, Enid Roberts has demonstrated a consistent record of being in the forefront of innovation, particularly in the area of information technology in libraries. The value of new developments has reflected Enid's clear view of the potential of automation for strengthening resource-sharing locally and nationally.

Enid began her career in the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide. In 1963 she moved to the Fisher Library at the University of Sydney, becoming serials librarian in 1966, cataloguing librarian in 1969 and moving on in 1974 to other senior planning and administrative positions. During this time, Enid Roberts played a leading role in inducing Australia's largest and oldest university library to embrace computer technology.

Having been engaged in earlier co-operative work for the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services, in 1980 Enid Roberts was appointed director of the newly formed Office of Library Co-operation (OLC). The aim of the OLC was to develop resource sharing among the research libraries of NSW. Her first major task was to assist academic libraries and the State Library of New South Wales with their participation in the Australian Bibliographic Network (ABN). In more recent times Enid has focused on systems-related matters such as standardisation of member's systems, Open System Interconnection and the availability of cataloguing copy for bibliographic records and authorities. Always among the first to recognise the potential for libraries of new developments in information technology, Enid has ensured that libraries had a voice in planning for developments such as the National Academic and Research Network, AARNet.

In 1990 OLC was replaced by UNISON (University Libraries in the State of New South Wales) and extended Enid Robert's skills to several specialised consultancies with an emphasis on network.

Enid's involvement via the OLC in the ABN Pilot Project has resulted in a record of continuous and distinguished service on the central governing committees of ABN. She also established and chaired the ABN User Group (NSW), and has assisted in bringing numerous special and public libraries onto ABN. Several reports commissioned by Enid on behalf of OLC libraries examined issues of importance to ABN and demonstrated her commitment to ABN as a central utility and national enterprise.

The library and information profession owes a considerable debt to Enid for her involvement in industrial activities. After occupying a number of positions in the Fisher Library Officers' Association (FLOA), Enid became the inaugural president of the University Library Officers' Association (ULOA) which was formed in 1976 by library staff from the universities of Sydney, Macquarie and New England. Under her leadership the University Library Officers' Association obtained federal registration in 1977. ULOA and its NSW registered predecessor FLOA have been the only unions to represent library staff and not other classification of employee.

She has been a strong supported of the Australian Library and Information Association. Enid has held offices in the University and College Libraries Section and later in the Cataloguers' Section, which was founded largely as the result of her initiative, following the University and College Libraries Section's Cataloguing Seminar of 1972. Enid has continued to support both groups throughout the years.

Since 1980 Enid Roberts has been deeply involved in the Association's Information Science Section. Her thorough and imaginative planning and good stewardship of resources as Section treasurer have played no small part in the Section's successful ventures, including the Information online series of conferences and exhibitions which began in 1986. The Information online conferences have become an essential professional activity for library and information personnel interested in information retrieval and both national and international online resources.

Australian librarianship has been greatly enriched by Enid Robert's capability and commitment, her clear grasp of issues and her eminently rational and positive approach, both to matters of broad policy and fine detail. She has played a national role in her profession, and worked for its good with unfailing optimism and conviction.

Enid Roberts is a respected leader and spokesperson for her profession and one who is well deserving of the distinction of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association.