Kay Poustie

Kay Poustie BA FALIA

Fellowship conferred 1997

Kay Poustie began her distinguished career in the library and information sector in 1963 as a library assistant at the University of Melbourne. After completing the registration examination of the Library Association of Australia she became assistant librarian at Blackburn Public Library and from 1974 was employed as librarian at the Shepparton Technical College and College of TAFE. Following relocation to Perth in 1978, Kay began her successful association with the City of Stirling Libraries, initially as a cataloguer and supervisor of the Central Services section, then in 1983 as Karrinyup Branch librarian.

In 1984 Kay was appointed as city librarian, now manager, libraries, arts and culture, City of Stirling. In this position she is responsible for the management of one of the two largest public library systems in Western Australia. Kay's area of responsibility also includes management of the Community Information Service and the Arts and Culture portfolio for the City of Stirling which includes community arts, art exhibitions and other cultural activities. Since her appointment the libraries have upgraded to a computerised system and the effectiveness with which this was accomplished was recognised by a Silver Award in the Commonwealth Technology Event in 1989. Strategic plans developed for the library service under Kay's leadership now see the library enjoy a national reputation for excellence in this area.

Kay's commitment to client-focussed service has seen the implementation of innovative services within the City of Stirling Library Service, including being the first Western Australian public libraries to provide Sunday opening hours. Her energy and dedication have resulted in a significant growth in library usage.

Kay's expertise in the public library sector has been recognised in Australia and overseas. In 1991 Kay was appointed to the Library Board of Western Australia as the Local Government Association representative. The first public librarian to be appointed to this position, she served in this capacity for three years. In 1995 Kay was invited to be a keynote speaker at the First International Conference on Library Performance Measurement held at the University of Northumbria in the United Kingdom. In the same year she was invited to join British consultant and author Charles Landry in a strategic planning day for Australian public libraries and the subsequent strategic forum. In 1996 the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany invited Kay to represent Australia in an international public libraries network comprising nine 'outstandingly experienced and motivated practitioners who have adopted new approaches in their libraries'. The task for this select group of international librarians has been to prepare a report on management systems for improved client services in public libraries.

Kay is active in her profession and in the Australian Library and Information Association. She generously shares her broad experience with colleagues; her enthusiasm for ALIA and the professional comradeship it offers encourages others to support and enjoy the Association. Kay's commitment to the Association has seen her serve as WA branch president in 1989 and 1990 as well as in various offices within the Public Libraries section (WA Group). She also acted as chair of the finance committee for the first ALIA Biennial Conference held in Perth in 1990.

Between 1991 and 1996 Kay served as a member of the ALIA Board of Education, for four of those years from 1993 as its chair. In this role and as a member of the executive committee of General Council, Kay fostered the productive working relationship between General Council and the Board which ensures that the Board and the Association contribute to education for the library and information profession in Australia and overseas. Under Kay's leadership of the Board of Education, relationships between the Association and educators of library and information workers were enhanced.

In recognition of the importance of professional development Kay has instituted initiatives into the City of Stirling libraries which provide a progressive program of development and advancement to assist younger members of the profession. Her staff are esteemed for their high standards of professional practice and their willingness to mentor younger staff and students. As chair of the Board of Education Kay championed the introduction by ALIA of the Framework for continuing professional development for its members.

Kay's activities are not restricted only to the field of librarianship. She is active in the wider community through Zonta International, an international service organisation for executives in business and the professions, and from 1989 to 1992 served on the board of Meath Homes for the Aged in Western Australia.

A librarian held in high regard by colleagues both nationally and internationally, Kay has contributed tirelessly to the library and information profession and to the promotion of ALIA. Through her positions in the WA Branch and on the ALIA Board of Education, Kay has been able to influence the development of the library and information profession in Australia. She has contributed to the quality of public libraries and is dedicated to the delivery of excellent service and to ensuring free access to information through the public library system. Kay works unstintingly to raise the awareness of influential decision-makers about the importance of public libraries. Kay Poustie is a most worthy recipient of the distinction of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association.