Ian Renard

Ian Andrew Renard BA LLM

  • Redmond Barry Award 2002

Ian Renard is a citizen of Melbourne with wide community interests. A lawyer by profession, Ian was a long-term partner in the Melbourne firm of Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks, and managing partner from 1989 to 1991.  He resigned from the firm in 2001 to devote himself full-time to board and public activities.  Ian has occupied a wide range of public positions, including president of the Library Board of Victoria (formerly the Council of the State Library of Victoria) from May 1997 to May 2002. He continues to support the work of the State Library as a member of the Collections Committee and of the Foundation.  Ian is the current deputy chancellor of the University of Melbourne, and chairman of  the Melbourne Theatre Company.

In 1994 Ian began his association with the State Library of Victoria at a crucial point in its fortunes. He quickly developed an understanding of the library's operations and library networks, and as a result he was able to influence the political environment to the benefit of all libraries in the state.

Ian served as the deputy chairman of the Council of the State Library of Victoria from June 1994, and was appointed as president of the Library Board of Victoria in 1997.  Ian gave unstinting service to the State Library of Victoria in particular, and to the wider community of public libraries across the state, through his outstanding leadership, careful attention to policy development and planning, and in his performance of public duties on behalf of the library. When he became president Ian provided clear directions for the improvement of performance, the resumption of the redevelopment program, the augmentation of the library's resources and capacity, and the clear demonstration of accountability.

Ian gave strong leadership to the team responsible for the major building redevelopment program for the State Library of Victoria. He ensured that the master plan was sufficiently broad and farsighted and that it could be properly supported by the funds available at each stage. He was a champion of public libraries at a time when the State Library could have been forgiven for concentrating on its own redevelopment, and he ensured that the strategic importance of the relationship between the State Library and other libraries was not forgotten.

He motivated the State Library of Victoria Foundation through a period of steady consolidation, also personally securing some key sponsors and orchestrating the involvement in the Foundation's affairs of key library supporters.

He convinced the government that the rejuvenation of the State Library depended not only on completing the major building redevelopment program, but also on a significant recurrent increase to the library's annual budget. Ian was able to persuade his minister, and the Victorian premier, that the library was of at least equal significance to the state's other cultural institutions. He proved that the library could  translate  funding into improved  facilities and greatly improved performance.

Ian played a major role in motivating, enthusing, and on occasion counselling the library's senior executive team, and was very generous in the time he gave to this task. He was also conscious of his responsibilities to explain and defend the library publicly and as appropriate, to both friends and critics, and was a very powerful  advocate for the value of libraries generally and of the State Library  of Victoria  in particular.

The Redmond Barry Award is the highest honour that the Association can bestow on an individual not eligible for Associate membership. The criteria for the award includes recognition of 'outstanding service to or promotion of a library and information service or libraries and information services ...' Ian Renard more than meets this criteria.

Ian Renard is a most deserving winner of the Redmond Barry Award. It is fitting that one of the most effective lay advocates and leaders in the State Library of Victoria's long history is to receive an award named in honour of the State Library of Victoria's founder and first president, Redmond Barry.