ALIA Blog Article

ALIA Blog: Roadtrip to Perth for ALIA CEO

Tuesday 5 July: After starting with ALIA at the end of May, ALIA CEO Cathie Warburton has been on the road with a visit to WA in her first month. While in Perth, Cathie met with ALIA Members to discuss what is most pressing for them individually and for the LIS industry more broadly. Cathie was also able to visit some of the state’s exceptional facilities and resources.

Cathie facilitated the second Perth Leadership and Innovation Roundtable with ALIA Director Alissa Sputore. The event was hosted at the State Library of WA by Catherine Clark, the new CEO and WA State Librarian. Twelve people attended the session including representatives from health libraries (Ann Ritchie and Cheryl Hamill - pictured), public libraries, university libraries, LIS educators and ALIA Groups. There was great discussion on topics such as advocacy, connecting with communities, sector leadership and the LIS workforce.

At Murdoch University, Dawn McLoughlin, University Librarian, gave Cathie a tour of the Geoffrey Bolton Library including the special collections, the law library, the innovation centre and the 24/7 learning common. It was interesting to see how library spaces are adapted to meet the needs of users. Dawn also told Cathie about the success of Murdoch University’s group practicum project run in collaboration with Curtin University for library students to support the future generation of library professionals.

At the University of Western Australia, Cathie met with Jill Benn, University Librarian, and had an engaging conversation about developing leadership in the LIS sector and the value proposition offered to ALIA Members. Scott Nicholls, Associate University Librarian, then took Cathie to visit the impressive Digitisation Centre of WA. Cathie learnt about terms like sticky shelf syndrome, vinegar syndrome and digital surrogates! There is such important work being done at the Centre which is a great example of WA collaboration. Cathie also saw lots of impressive infrastructure which is best in class for undertaking the digitisation process including the Reel to Reel Scanstation. Digital officers Natalia Podhajska and Jameson Feakes took the time to explain what they do at the Centre and their passion for the work was obvious.

At Curtin University Cathie met with Professor Umberto Ansaldo, Head of School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry and Associate Professor Gaby Haddow, Discipline Lead for Libraries, Archives, Records and Information Science. Cathie learnt about the important LIS courses delivered by Curtin University and explored how ALIA could help attract students and promote LIS careers. It was wonderful for Cathie to be able to spend the time with Associate Professor Haddow who has such a wealth of knowledge and experience in LIS education.


Chair of Australian Public Library Alliance, Viv Barton took Cathie to visit Belmont Library and Museum where Manager, Natasha Griggs gave Cathie a comprehensive tour. Cathie was incredibly impressed by the facilities and the thoughtfulness that had gone into the design and execution of the space with community needs at the centre. The City of Belmont has a lot to be proud of with the exciting community resource it has in Belmont Library and Museum.

Cathie stayed in Northbridge right next to Perth’s Cultural Precinct housing the State Library of WA, WA Museum Boola Bardip, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Art Gallery of WA. This meant that Cathie had the opportunity to enjoy the architecture and cultural sights like Illuminate night projections (photo) before her meeting with Catherine Clark, CEO and State Librarian. It was interesting to hear Catherine’s perspective and focus for the State Library after just a few months in the job having come from Curtin University as University Librarian. Cathie also met with Susan McEwan, Director Library Services and Daniel Rozas, Director Collections. The scope of the work they do is extraordinary with Cathie hearing about the interpretation strategy for collections, heritage and engagement, digitisation, support for public libraries and the increasing need for digital literacy in the community.