Vicki McDonald

Vicki McDonald, BA (Librarianship), Grad Dip Business Administration, Executive Master Public Administration, FALIA

  • ALIA Fellowship 2019

From the beginning of her career, Vicki McDonald’s knowledge, professionalism and expertise have been evident. Following her first roles at Toowoomba Regional Council Library and Brisbane City Council, she has held senior roles in public, academic and research libraries. To each role and each sector, she has brought her ability to serve as a catalyst for change.

As the State Librarian and CEO of the State Library of Queensland, Vicki is known for her warm, empathetic leadership style as well as her ability to drive and implement change. She genuinely loves libraries and she selflessly gives of her time to contribute to her profession  and  also to         mentor younger librarians who see her as ethical, generous and kind.

Under her leadership, the State Library of Queensland is at the forefront of digital innovation and is very actively promoting the 2019 United Nation’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. Vicki is an active member of the State Library of Queensland's Indigenous Advisory Group. She is   learning to speak the language of the Aboriginal people where she grew up in Dalby. She greets State Library of Queensland staff in language at all staff briefings and has made Indigenous languages a natural part of the workplace culture.

Parallel with her paid employment, Vicki has developed her voluntary roles in the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), culminating as President of ALIA in 2017-2018 and as a Governing Board member of IFLA.

Vicki was first a member of the ALIA Board from 2002-2004 and she was asked to organise the ALIA Biennial Conference on the Gold Coast in 2004. The conference was a big success, due in no small part to Vicki’s contribution.

Vicki was elected to the ALIA Board again in 2015 and served as Vice President for one year, followed by President in 2017-2018. Her presidential theme was international relations. This led to the first Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference on the Gold Coast in 2018, in partnership with the Library Association of Singapore and LIANZA, alongside an Asia-Pacific Library and Information Summit on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In June 2018, Vicki was invited to present on the work that ALIA has done in relation to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals at IFLA’s International Advocacy Programme Global Convening in New York, USA. Nearly 40 participants, invited by IFLA, met at the Brooklyn Public Library, the United Nations Headquarters, and The New York Public Library to review two years’ work and take library advocacy to the next level. As a result of this presentation she was invited to present in South Africa on the same topic.

Vicki now chairs the ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee which advises the Board of Directors on the development and delivery of ALIA’s strategic action program for international engagement.

Vicki’s skill with conference programs has led to a run of highly successful ALIA Information Online conferences in Sydney and she has agreed to chair the program committee for the upcoming ALIA National Conference, to be held in Sydney in 2020. She has also been supportive of the ALIA 2019 Library Design Awards Conference, run as part of the Asia Pacific Architecture Forum, an initiative of Architecture Media and State Library of Queensland.

Vicki has been involved in IFLA since 2004, through Metropolitan Libraries (2004-2011); and Academic and Research Libraries (2011-2017), of which she was Chair 2013-2017. Since 2017, Vicki has been a member of the IFLA Governing Board, of which she is a greatly valued and effective member.

Vicki’s participation in ALIA and IFLA demonstrate her enormous professional commitment and her many accomplishments. People describe her as strategic, efficient and thoughtful. She conducts herself with dignity, calm and common sense, and she has a very strong work ethic. One colleague summed her up in a single word, “indefatigable”.

For her long-standing, energetic and dedicated service to librarianship and to the Australian Library and Information Association, the ALIA Board is pleased to award Vicki McDonald with this ALIA Fellowship.