Margaret Allen

Margaret Allen BA

Fellowship conferred 2014

The ALIA Board of Directors is delighted to confer the distinction of Fellow on Margaret Allen, with special consideration for her work in the fields of literacy, Aboriginal heritage, copyright, and for her support of library and information science education and emerging leaders.

Through her role as CEO of the State Library of Western Australia, Margaret Allen has demonstrated a strong commitment to reading and literacy as illustrated by the highly successful Better Beginnings program run by the State Library of Western Australia since 2004 in partnership with the State Government of Western Australia, local governments and industry partner Rio Tinto.  She was also Chair of the 2012 National Year of Reading Founding Partners, directs the WA Premier’s Book Awards and participates in the Perth Writer’s Festival.

Under Margaret’s leadership the State Library works in partnership with Aboriginal people through the Storylines Project to “build and maintain an online database of digitised heritage material from the Library’s collections relating to Aboriginal history” and through its Aboriginal Family History project offers training in information literacy, and research skills to support clients with family history research. 

Margaret is engaged in the 2012 IFLA International Leaders Programme. She is a member of the Curtin University Information Studies Advisory Board, a judge for the Sharr Medal for the new graduate most likely to make an impact on the profession, and she instigated a graduate program within the State Library.

As Chair of the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) and a member of the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) Board of Directors Margaret is an active participant in the Australian copyright reform debates committed to copyright reform that enables fair access. 

Margaret was ALIA President for the 2011-2012 term of office. She represented libraries on the government’s Book Industry Collaborative Council and she is a valued member of the ALIA ebooks and elending Reference Group, presenting at think tanks across Australia during 2013. 

For her long standing and varied service to the sector and to the Association, Margaret Allen is awarded the ALIA Fellowship.

Public Service Medal 2018

For outstanding public service to the libraries sector in Western Australia.

Ms Allen began her career in a public library where she was involved in developing a library management system. Subsequently she was appointed to the position of Associate Director and then Acting Director at the State Library of South Australia where she transformed the organisation as it transitioned to new accommodation and included the development and implementation of a new service delivery model. In 2004, she was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) and State Librarian where she is responsible for the strategic leadership of library services in Western Australia, the operation of the SLWA, and its partnership with local governments for the delivery of public library services. During her time in the role she has demonstrated a strong commitment to early childhood reading and literacy as illustrated by her leadership of the highly successful 'Better Beginnings' program. The program has been run by the SLWA since 2004 in partnership with the State Government, local governments and industry partners. 'Better Beginnings' now reaches over 60,000 families each year throughout Western Australia. She has also actively participated in the Australian copyright reform debates and remains committed to the objective of reforms that ensures fair access. Ms Allen's work in the fields of literacy, Indigenous heritage, copyright, and her support of library and information science education and emerging leaders is well above the norm.