For more than two decades I have been an active member, through committee membership, of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), but my participation in ALIA dates from when I first graduated as a librarian in 1988.
My work with ALIA
- Program Chair, Information and Online Conference Committee (2017, 2019, 2021)
- Chair, International Relations Advisory Committee (2017–current)
- President, Australian Library and Information Association (2017)
- Vice-President, Australian Library and Information Association (2016)
- Member, Higher Education and Research Libraries Advisory Committee (2014–2017)
- Member, Information and Online Conference Committee—Sydney, 2015 (2012–2013, 2014–2015)
- Member, Membership and Awards Standing Committee (2010–2011)
- Convenor Queensland Group (2010–2013)
- Convenor Public Libraries Advisory Committee (2003–2009)
- Director, Australian Library and Information Association Board of Directors (May 2002–May 2004)
- Deputy Convenor and Program Coordinator, 2004 ALIA Biennial Conference Organising Committee
- President, Quorum (2001)
- President, Queensland Branch, Queensland Group (January 2000–June 2001)
“I have learnt so much, and it far outweighs my contributions”
As a new graduate, I believed it was my professional responsibility to be involved in my professional association and to support its advocacy work through my annual membership. I was initially drawn to ALIA’s committee work by the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of professional issues. Committee membership also enabled me to develop skills in committee activities, e.g., organising professional development opportunities for colleagues. I also enjoyed the working with library professionals from outside my workplace—it was an effective way to build my networks.
In 2002 I was elected to ALIA’s Board of Directors, which exposed me to the roles and responsibilities of being a board member of a professional association. As a board we had responsibility for the strategic vision of the association, for financial sustainability and for being accountable to members. In 2017 I was honoured to be elected President of ALIA.
Building on my role of President, in 2017 the ALIA International Relations Advisory Committee was formed. This committee advises ALIA’s board on issues related to international affairs, advocates the benefits of international engagement, encourages international collaboration and builds awareness of international initiatives. I have chaired this committee since 2017. Highlights have included ALIA’s work in supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In June 2018 I was privileged to present ALIA’s work on SDGs to United Nations officers at IFLA’s Global Convening of its International Advocacy Program in New York.
One ALIA role I have particularly enjoyed has been participating in planning and delivering ALIA conferences. I have contributed as Program Chair to both the ALIA National and Information Online Conferences. Both conferences are premier events for the Australian library and information sector and have strong track records of providing innovative and engaging programs. ALIA’s financial sustainability is also dependent upon the success of these events. Over the last twelve months, together with the ALIA team, the Information Online conference committee has worked hard to pivot to the virtual environment. We were thrilled to have 2700+ delegates enrolled in the February 2021 conference.
Reflecting on my participation in ALIA across three decades I acknowledge that it has been immensely satisfying to work with colleagues in the various ALIA boards, committees and, of course, with the committed and skilled staff of ALIA. I have learnt so much, and it far outweighs my contributions.