ALIA Blog: ALIA in Hobart 

ALIA’s Trish Hepworth (Director or Policy and Education), Jacqui Lucas (Professional Learning Teacher Librarian) and Emily Wilson (Regional Engagement Manger), celebrated Library and Information Week 2023 on muwinina country in nipaluna, lutruwita (Hobart, Tasmania). We were lucky that a number of key events coincided during the week to maximise opportunities for connection and learning while down south.

Having an ALIA booth at the four-day Australian Primary Principals Association National Conference provided opportunity to speak to Principals about the critical role of school libraries and their qualified library staff, and the many benefits of a well-resourced library.  Trish Hepworth, Jacqui Lucas and Emily Wilson all spent time stationed at this booth, spreading the word about the value of libraries and hearing stories from school leaders who could see first-hand the positive impact their library had on student learning outcomes and wellbeing.


Images above (L to R): Trish Hepworth & Jacqui Lucas representing ALIA at the APPA Conference; Emily Wilson & Jacqui Lucas representing ALIA at the APPA Conference. 

When the conference ended on Wednesday August 2nd, Jacqui and Emily headed to the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) building on Battery Point. Here the ALIA Island Group were hosting the Library and Information Week event Our Source of Strength: The Library Workforce in Tasmania, with Emily as MC, and Jacqui presenting on ALIA CPD, capability building and mentoring. The booked-out event was designed for people working in libraries across sectors to come together, connect and learn from each other. There was opportunity to network, and attendees heard lightning talks from Sallie Clark, Jen Johnson, Jan Richards, Lucy Hawthorne, Eve Miller and Janette Burke. 

The themes of the ‘Source of Strength’ event included complementary skills gained through pursuing interests outside of libraries; the transferability of skills across professions; the knowledge brought by library professionals to their communities; the importance of building relationships; the challenges faced in Tasmania's library sector; and the importance of working together to build capacity in the sector through knowledge sharing and collaboration.

A huge thanks to the speakers for sharing their insights and personal journeys; to Janette Burke (UTAS University Librarian) for the venue space; and to the ALIA Island Group’s Convenor Libby Levett and Committee Members Janet Thorp, Jan Richards, Sonya Moon, Jen Johnson, Jo Reeve and Shannon McKinley for hosting a wonderful event. 

Images above (L to R): Attendees networking at the ALIA Island ‘Source of Strength’ event; ‘Source of Strength’ speakers Sallie Clark, Jan Richards, Jen Johnson, Jacqui Lucas, Jannette Burke, Lucy Hawthorne and Eve Miller.

The ‘Source of Strength’ event also provided the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge two long term ALIA members through the presentation of ALIA pins. A 25-year membership pin was presented to Kathryn Jaeger, a teacher librarian with long and outstanding career working in libraries; and a 60-year membership pin was presented to Denis Abbott whose career was with CSIRO Marine Laboratories where he was a driving force in marine information management in Australia for many years.

Images right (L to R): Emily Wilson with ALIA’s 25-year membership pin recipient Kathryn Jaeger; Emily Wilson with ALIA’s 60-year membership pin recipient Denis Abbott. 

The following day Jacqui and Emily visited the Libraries Tasmania/State Library of Tasmania building on Murray Street. Here they explored the lending library with Libby Levett and met library staff. There was also opportunity to re-connect with Sue McKerracher, director of Libraries Tasmania. Highlights of the visit included the Duck Trousers, Straw Bonnets, and Bluey exhibition, the Library and Information Week displays and hearing about Stories After Dark being included in the official Dark Mofo program (and the lighting of the building, storytelling, art and performance). 

Emily took a short journey south to explore the Kingston Library, where host Tom Jefferson guided her through this light-filled and vibrant space with local crafts and model trains on display. It was a great visit to a charming public library - will have to time the next visit to coincide with Childrens' Storytime (which featured a bubble machine!). 

Images above (L to R): Jacqui Lucas finds the ‘source’ at the Hobart Library; Tom Jefferson, Kingston Library; Emily Wilson & James Sherley, Kingston Library. 

Jacqui also took a journey to Lindisfarne North Primary School Library where she was the special guest at the Tasmania South School Library Network meeting. Along with sharing the latest learning from the principal’s conference, Jacqui provided the attendees with an overview of the work of ALIA followed by a presentation entitled ‘26 ways to lead from the school library’. There is nothing like meeting in person to forge connections and everyone enjoyed the learning that occurs when you visit a different school library space.

The very full week in lutruwita (Tasmania) went all too quickly. The ALIA team were lucky to catch views of a stunning snow-capped kunanyi (Mount Wellington) during their stay but were warmed by the unfailing friendliness and hospitality of the many people we met. The source of strength for Tamanian libraries undoubtedly lies within the connections between enthusiastic and dedicated people.

Image left: kunanyi (view from Libraries Tasmania office).