From the Regional Engagement Manager: Celebrating award winners and ALIA Group achievements

This Regional Engagement Manager update celebrates the successes and achievements of our ALIA Groups and some outstanding individuals.

Two Group run awards were presented in the past fortnight – the QLD Library Achiever of the Year Award and South Australian Library and Information Awards (SALIAs).

The 2023 QLD Library Achiever of the Year Award was presented to Nicole Hunt at the ALIA QLD Mini-Conference on November 8th. Nicole received this award due to her strong and ongoing involvement with national issues impacting public libraries, through her work with City Library Townsville and as President of the Queensland Public Library Alliance (QPLA). Nicole's advocacy has achieved a deeper understanding for those involved, regarding how to meet challenges regarding library collections, and also how to ensure library collections are forged with reason and inclusivity in mind. Congratulations Nicole.

Congratulations are also due to Sascha Hutchinson, Coordinator Literacy and Learning at the City of Charles Sturt Libraries for taking home the prize at the inaugural SALIAs on November 14th. This award acknowledges Sascha’s creativity and exceptional organising skills in developing and coordinating the Lit-for-Life Festival across 6 metropolitan Councils. Sascha worked with a cross-council library team of dedicated and visionary library leaders to create a literacy inspired and library-led festival for community where free entry was only possible with a library membership.

Photos above (L-R): Brigitte Boys (TAFE QLD) presenting Nicole Hunt (Townsville City Libraries / QPLA) with the ‘QLD Library Achiever of the Year Award (2023)’; Sascha Hutchinson (City of Charles Sturt Libraries) receiving the ‘SALIA’ from Geoff Strempel (Director, State Library of South Australia)

These annual merit prizes not only celebrate the achievements of those who have made a significant impact in their field, they also elevate the profession and provide industry recognition. Importantly these awards are only possible because of the dedication and hard work of our ALIA Groups – ALIA Queensland and ALIA South Australia.

I was fortunate to attend ALIA Queensland’s ‘Transformers’ Mini Conference, where the Library Achiever of the Year Award was presented. This Conference, held in the State Library of Queensland’s (SLQ) Edge Innovation Hub, is an annual highlight for many, and the programming, hosting, ordering of top-notch catering, and finer details are all thanks to the ALIA Queensland Group. The Conference brings people together from across library sectors to present, meet, share and learn.  Read the recap in the ALIA Students and New Graduates Group Blog, or highlights from ALIA CEO Cathie Warburton - there were some marvelous presentations, and innovation and ideas of the QLD library profession is inspiring.

Photos above (L-R): ALIA QLD Mini-Conference in the Edge Innovation Hub, State Library of Queensland; Discussion Panel at the ALIA QLD Mini-Conference, featuring Cathie Warburton (ALIA CEO), Christopher Paroz, Rani McLennan and Sarah Winters and moderated by Tony Courtenay (ALIA QLD Group Convenor)

Whilst in Brisbane for the Conference, I caught-up with Amy Walduck, Director on the ALIA Board of Directors. Amy gave me a tour of the SLQ – an elegant, multi-level building with spaces to study, entertain children, view exhibitions, hold an event, or even organise an elaborate marriage proposal with a river view! The SLQ is a welcoming space – open, airy and filled with light, and its collections and exhibitions showcase the unique stories of Queensland.

Photos above (L-R): Emily Wilson (ALIA REM) with Amy Walduck (Director on the ALIA Board of Directors) at the State Library of QLD; inside the State Library of QLD (love the carpets); ‘Purpose Built’ exhibition at the State Library of QLD – celebrating the transformative power of architectural design in shaping communities

Back in my hometown of Adelaide, I attended the SALIAs Presentation Ceremony in the State Library of South Australia’s (SLSA) Hetzel Lecture Theatre.  Hosted and presented by ALIA President, Jane Cowell and SLSA Director, Geoff Strempel, the Presentation Ceremony was attended by library and information professionals from across South Australia.

The idea for the SALIAs was sparked in the ALIA South Australia Group, and became a reality thanks to the months this Group spent on meticulous planning and coordination. It’s an achievement to be proud of, and with the continued support of the State Library and the event’s sponsors, the SALIAs will become an annual occurrence.

ALIA’s Regional Groups are always looking for new members to join their committees – you could be part of these amazing teams that organise conferences, awards nights and opportunities for connections, collaboration and community for library people! Explore the Groups and Committees page of the ALIA website or contact me for more information.

Photos above (L-R): Shortlisted SALIAs nominees - Deborah Dunt (City of Tea Tree Gully Library), Alex Kane (City of Prospect Library), Benita Parsons (City of Port Adelaide Enfield Libraries), Elizabeth Wells (PhD Candidate, University of South Australia), Nicole Turner (Cowell School Community Library), Sascha Hutchinson (City of Charles Sturt Libraries); ALIA SA Group- Julia Liebich (Secretary), Robert Sturgul (Treasurer), Hayley Hillson (Co-Convenor), Anand Kochunny (Co-Convenor),  Cyprian Maynard (Committee member); At the SALIAs - Heather Brown (ALIA Sector Standards & Education Librarian), Emily Wilson (ALIA REM); At the SALIAs - Julia Liebich (ALIA SA Group), Jasmine Castellano (University of Adelaide Library), Taish Shaw (Adelaide Hills Library Service)

Emily Wilson 
Regional Engagement Manager