Jennifer Cram

Jennifer Cram

From Kosa, G.A. (Ed). (1990). Biographical dictionary of Australian librarians. 4th edn. p. 50

Jennifer Kathleen Cram BA Dir Ed Dip Lib AALIA. City Librarian Brisbane.  Born 6 October 1943 Sydney. Education University of Natal Pietermaritzburg South Africa BA 1964. H Dip Lib 1976, University of New England Armidale NSW Dip Ed 1969, Canberra CAE Dip Lib 1982.  Positions Russell High School Pietermaritzburg librarian, Southern Tablelands Education Centre Goulburn resources officer 1978-79, Argyle College of TAFE Goulburn librarian in charge 1979-81, Southern Tablelands Joint Library Service Goulburn NSW chief librarian 1981-84, Wyong Shire NSW chief librarian 1984-86, present 1987 -.  Member ALIA Assoc (Public Libraries Section NSW President 1984, Queensland branch Councillor 1988-, ACLIS: Councillor 1987, Queensland Committee 1987-; AIM, Southern Tablelands Education Librarians Association President 1980-82.  Special interests: public libraries, services to the disabled.

INCITE 7 October 1991

Jennifer Cram 1992 Vice-President 

Jenny Cram has worked in school, university, TAFE and public libraries, both in Australia and overseas. The latter experience brought home to her the front-line importance of all libraries in preserving the freedom of the individual to inquire and to know.  Since January 1987 she has been Brisbane City Librarian, managing the largest municipal library service in Australia.

Jenny has been a member of ALIA since 1978 and has actively participated in Association committees and activities as a Member of Queensland Branch Council, convener of its Promotion and Publicity sub­ committee, President of the Public Libraries Section, NSW and Committee Member of the Public Libraries Section, NSW.

Her other professional activities have included membership of the AACOBS/ACLIS Queensland State Committee, of AACOBS National Council, she has been President of the Queensland Library Promotion Council and has worked with related bodies and with library schools.  Jenny has written widely on matters of interest to all librarians, particularly on the question of the image of librarians, and on the free public library.

Jenny believes that 'We tend to blame others for our image problems, instead of firmly shouldering the blame and getting on with positive and workable steps to change that image. Also there seems to be an acceptance in our profession that prominence equals success. When most of us think about people who we think of as examples of success and motivation we tend to choose prominent people. I suggest that one of the reasons that librarians have a less than great self image is because the prominence myth is a shabby view of success.

'A lot of unhappiness arises when people are taught to see themselves as failing when realistically they are not. People tend to imagine that success is getting to the top l per cent of one's profession and that those who have achieved that are somehow better qualified to set the direction for all of us and what is worse, that until you have made the grade what you have to say is of little account.

'Yet every single person who is part of our profession brings to that profession a unique combination of experience, talents and insight, and has therefore a unique contribution to make. In the commercial world, at least 90 per cent of ideas for profit improvement and growth flow upwards in an organisation.

'We must change the way we look at ourselves, and start behaving as if we are the people we want to be, rather than the people we believe we are. The image the world has of us, and which does have a bearing on our effectiveness, will only change if our self image changes first.'

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Additional information:

  • Resigned from position as City Librarian Brisbane City Council and on 15 June 1992 took up the newly created position of Manager Library service at the Queensland Education Department.
  • Queensland Special Librarian in 1996