‘Libraries are vital to any society’ – Hear from Michella McIntosh, recipient of the 2022 ALIA Library Technician of the Year Award 

Canberra, 20 April: ALIA Member and Library Technician at The Pittwater House School Michella McIntosh is the recipient of the 2022 ALIA Library Technician of the Year Award - a peer nominated award recognising an outstanding contribution to the profession and the advancement of library technicians.

The judging panel commended Michella’s dedication to her professional journey, her commitment to the wider profession and her work during the pandemic which included a demonstrated commitment to access, an understanding and ability to respond to the needs of the community, and a willingness to innovate, learn and collaborate with professional peers.  

We asked Michella about what it means to receive the Library Technician of the Year Award and what inspired her interest in and dedication to libraries and the work that they do:

It is such an honour to be presented with the ALIA Library Technician of the Year 2022 award. It is an extraordinary career moment, and I am delighted to be part of the select group of past award winners dating back to 1989. 

Books and reading have always been a huge part of my life. I was lucky enough to start my library career 22 years ago as a casual shelver at my local council library, where I witnessed that interactions between library staff and the public could make a difference.

This first experience working within a public library made me realise what an important community service libraries provide and further encouraged me to pursue a career where I could give back to my community.

Libraries are vital to any society. They are one of the few places where there is no expectation to buy anything and the same level of service will be provided, without consideration of background, age or socio-economic status. 

Last year was not without challenges, but library types are resilient, flexible and we rise to challenges. So many libraries have ensured they continued to serve their clients by way of online resources and click and collect or home delivery, even when our physical library buildings were closed.

I would like to thank my nominators, Kathryn Eyre and Ann Collings who have both been incredibly supportive of my career development. Their ongoing willingness to guide and support me has been integral to my professional growth and success. 

Mentors play such a huge part in our development as professionals. Library workers have an inbuilt need to share and discover information and we need to continue to do that by imparting knowledge and expertise within our own industry. It is this which will ensure libraries continue to be a trusted epicentre in our communities.

The prize will be presented to Michella at the ALIA National Conference in Canberra in May.