As ALIA celebrates its 80th birthday this year, we thought it would be wonderful to ask our Members how they have been inspired throughout their careers. We created this blog so you could pay tribute to the people, the places, and the things which have motivated and encouraged you in your library and information science profession. Your Association provides lots of opportunities to meet, network, work on projects, join committees and attend events - perhaps you have a story about ALIA? 

Share your story about people - such as a special mentor, a leader, a volunteer, library user or colleague; places - the first library where you worked, your first overseas posting, the library where you spent most of your career, a lab in the library, a town or a city; or things - the technology which has transformed our workplaces, the help desk, the databases, the skills such as digitisation and data visualisation.

Write your Tribute post and we'll share with the library world via social media using #ALIA80  #Tribute #ALIA 

Feel free to comment on the heartfelt tributes from ALIA Members - there are some wonderful stories especially about the librarians who have inspired the next generation of information professionals.

Download this 'how-to guide' which explains how to upload your story.  If you would like email us your story/photos instead, please send to 

Sandra Ryan - Champion of School Libraries

Your Story
A deep sense of gratitude to Sandra Ryan, a generous and exemplary leader and mentor, to me, with regards to working in school libraries and being a teacher librarian. Sandra encouraged me to join ALIA, over twenty years ago, and invited me to be on the ALIA Schools Committee. For the past twenty years I have watched, learned and worked alongside her as the ALIA Schools Committee planned and implemented many professional learning activities, created and devised resources to assist teacher librarians and produced documents to lift the standards of our profession all under her gentle guidance.

Thanks to Marilyn Taylor

Your Story
Thank you to Marilyn Taylor for coaching and inspiring me. You showed me that libraires were more than just books, it is about information management. Demonstrating tools like SWOT analysis and change management opened my eyes to more possibilities that I thought was imaginable. Financial charts and personal and professional tooklits have held me in good stead. Thank you for your patience, encouragement and for believing in our profession but mostly thank you for showing me that this industry is about a wonderful and inspiring career.

My magical mentor

Your Story
My first day working in my first public library, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the best person and manager I'd ever met. Jody Rodas. Jody quickly learnt I was energized, full of ideas and loved what the public library stood for. I was always nurtured and encouraged, Jody never said no to any of my ideas no matter how out there they were. As a manager, she harnessed my energy and gave me direction, and together we were able to bring new and exciting groups and programs into the library. Jody is one of the best managers Ive ever worked with and for.

It's a dog's life

Your Story
Staff at the UQ A/V library welcomed me to my first job by assigning me the task of watching a film. In pre digital days, the library would time and take notes from real films on reels, so that lecturers could find the segment they could use in class.What a service! To test my fortitude, the film I had to watch was "The intramedullary pin fixation of a dog" - not a catchy title (though I have never forgotten it) and not a great plot, although the surgery went well and I am sure there was a good outcome for the dog. Certainly not a film for the squeamish.

Barbara Beachman inspired me to become a librarian

Your Story

I had been working in a library assistant at Hornsby Library for two years, when I was transferred to the Epping branch. Barbara was the branch librarian.

As soon as I started working there, she encouraged me, trained me, and gave me advice. Barbara gave me jobs to do - and let me use my initiative. She let me try out ideas for the collection and service. She didnt mind when I put up a sign "Andrew's Book of the day" with the zaniest kids picture books I could find. But most importantly for me, Barbara demonstrated an active, focussed customer service style, which I liked.

Thanks to Helen Partridge

Your Story
The richness and diversity of my career and professional engagement is due to the influence of a person, Professor Helen Partridge.From my first encounter with her at an ALIA Library Week event fifteen plus years ago, Helen has invited and encouraged me to get involved in a number of events, research projects, and job opportunities that I would not have necessarily sought out for myself. Through her commitment to inspiring a generation of LIS students and her dedication to bringing an evidence based practice approach to the Australian LIS sector, I know I am just one of the countless coll

50 years in ALIA - a reflection

Your Story

What a privilege it has been to belong to our professional association, ALIA, for  50 years  and to have this membership recognised at a ceremony recently. 

When I first joined in 1967,  the organisation was called the Library Association of Australia, a title it had assumed in 1949, having been the Australian Institution of Librarians since its inception in 1937. In 1989, the new name of the Australian Library and Information Association was adopted tin recognition of the broadening scope of the profession.

Falling in love at 13

Your Story

I'm your typical Library Nerd. I have loved everything about libraries since I was a little girl. 

However, I found true love when I was about 13 years old.  It was 1978, the year I started High School. I'd never attended a school that had it's own library before. Imagine, a room, full to the brim of wonderful adventures, amazing tales and so much learning to be had.

Nervous new nellie: I am now the Librarian because of so many people

Your Story

My first boss in public libraries was Carol McKee (Meisel) from Fairfield City Library and she took this nervous person, who turned bright red at her first storytelling event, into a confident librarian. Carol invited me to my first ALIA Childrens and Youth Services meeting in 1987 and it was here I learnt about the importance of social networks and professional networks.