Faye Lawrence

Faye Lawrence BA FALIA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1991

Faye Lawrence is an outstanding contributor to Australian librarianship and to the Australian Library and Information Association.

Her career began in 1957 at the Bankstown City Library and she continued to work in public libraries in Sydney until 1968. After having held positions at the University of Papua New Guinea and the University of Sydney, Faye returned to public libraries and has been chief librarian of Woollahra Municipal Library since 1980. Faye Lawrence has been actively involved in the Australian Library and Information Association for many years. She has held the office of vice-president and president of the New South Wales Branch and has served on the committee of the Public Library Section, New South Wales Group.

Together with Patricia Ward, Faye developed and jointly administered the 'Conservation on the move' project - an outstandingly successful Bicentennial initiative of the NSW branch. The initial submission to the Australian Bicentennial Authority, New South Wales Council resulted in a grant of $105000 for a three-year state-wide program from 1986 to 1988. The program was a joint activity of the Association, the Regional Galleries Association of NSW, the Australian Society of Archivists (Sydney), the Museums Association of Australia (NSW) and the Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (NSW). The grant allowed for the employment of a consultant conservator to advise by means of workshops and seminars on preservation, conservation and appropriate use of primary source materials held by local government bodies, societies and public libraries throughout the State of New South Wales. The project has had far reaching effects leading to the publication of a handbook and a paper conservation video kit.

Faye Lawrence has provided leadership of a high standard. She has made a substantial contribution to many issues through her work on various committees and working groups. In particular she has actively lobbied successive federal and state governments for greater support to Australian public libraries. In 1985, Faye led a disputation to the Premier of New South Wales and was successful in gaining his support to provide every NSW public library with a microcomputer. This enabled NSW public libraries to co-operate in the sharing of their information resources across the state via the electronic mail facility, ILANET.

In 1975 and 1976, Faye was the secretary of the NSW Library Promotion Committee and from 1985 to 1987 was the joint co-coordinator in NSW for the national campaign, Commonwealth Assistance for Public Libraries. Faye's work in local government has been distinguished by her ability to grasp wider as well as immediate issues. Her intellectual vigour and drive as well as her ability as a communicator and catalyst has been recognised and appreciated.

She has done much, through her work on the Local Government Industry Training Committee, the Standing Committee on Community Development and Libraries, and other committees of the Local Government and Shire's Associations to promote the role of adequately staffed and supported public libraries to local government officials and elected members.

Since 1988 Faye has been president of the Association of Local Government Librarians (ALGL) in NSW. During this time she encouraged co-operation between the Public Libraries Section and the ALGL on issues related to restructuring, training and funding through joint meetings, submissions and representations to state and local government. Faye was a major contributor to, and organiser of the submission, 'Libraries for life' compiled by members of the Association of Local Government Librarians (NSW) and the Public Libraries Section in response to the Report of Inquiry into Local Government Rating and other Revenue Powers and Resources (Oakes Report) 1990. The submission questioned the revenue assumptions contained in the report, and the effects of proposed membership charges, while emphasising the social implications of the proposed changes and the importance of the role of public libraries in life-long learning.

The principle of access to information through public libraries as one of the foundations for a democratic and informed society has been strongly defended by Faye. She demonstrates her commitment by active involvement, encouragement to others and by freely given and practical advice. Faye Lawrence is a quiet achiever, whose enthusiasm, dedication, persistence, professional ability, and outstanding contribution to Australian librarianship and the Association are acknowledged by General Council in conferring upon her the distinction of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association.