ALIA Blog: Transformers in the Sunshine State

By Cathie Warburton, ALIA CEO

“Transformers” was the theme for ALIA Queensland’s 2023 Mini Conference on 8 November. I was lucky enough to be there to open the conference and enjoy the warmth of the attendees and the generosity and courage of the speakers. I had heard great things about the ALIA Queensland min-con and it surpassed my expectations. There was a great mix of speakers from different sectors and from different stages in their careers along with one of the most supportive and engaged audience I’ve ever come across. I can’t possibly do all the presentations justice but I thought I’d share some of my takeaways.

Photos above (L-R): Sandra Kalms and Luke Mysliwy; Rani McLennan

Interlibrary loans – this is a feature of many libraries and it is not without its challenges. Sandra Kalms and Luke Mysliwy from Griffith University shared their journey of connection and shared knowledge through two workshops they held with over 100 practitioners from across Queensland. The workshops tackled issues around uncertainty, cost, complexity and scale. The answers to challenges are often within ourselves and these workshops helped facilitate that problem solving. An interesting observation was that “libraries don’t compete with each other” and this can lead to great collaboration. Following the event further connections were made between Sandra and Luke and ALIA’s Interlibrary Lending Special Interest Group. 

Open Education Resources (OER) – Rani McLennan from CAUL got into the theme with a flowchart that looked like a real life transformer. The flowchart clearly illustrated the flow of money, information and copyright in a traditional academic publishing scenario vs an open education resource environment. Rani is CAUL’s OER Collective Project Officer. The OER Collective provides a shared open textbook publishing platform. It only commenced in January 2022 and already 77% of CAUL members are participating with 19 open textbooks released and 60 more in production.

Leadership (Not) – Anne Reddacliff had the presentation with the best title “What to do when you don’t want to be a leader”. Anne’s authenticity won everyone over with her tales of working in three different State libraries and learning new skills. Ultimately her message was that it is always best to “be you”. Leadership of a team is not for everyone and success can take multiple forms.

LOUD – This is the name of a program run by Moreton Bay Library and Gallery to build trust with teenagers. Tia Bravery (who wins the prize for having the best name) and Angela Little talked about how they “turn problems into possibilities” when they transform the library/gallery space on a Friday night into a place where teenagers actually want to hang out.

Esports – Renee Mason shared her successes working with teenagers though esports platforms in a school library. The increased sense of belonging and development of teamwork skills were just the beginning.

Citizen Science – Helen Weston introduced the concept of Citizen Science Corners and how they can be used with STEM teaching as well as the SDGs. Students are able to play an active role in a science project with a genuine scientific outcome for the wider community. There’s a whole community to support this work if you check out

Photos above (L-R): Tia Bravery and Angela Little; Helen Weston; Brigitte Boys (TAFE Qld), Nicole Hunt (Queensland Library Achiever of the Year) and Tony Courtney (ALIA QLD convenor)

Finally I’d like to congratulate Lisa Bateman and Sam Searle who were awarded ALIA Silver pins and Nicole Hunt who was awarded Queensland Library Achiever of the Year Award. Congratulations to the ALIA Queensland Regional group for a successful event, and thank you to TAFE Queensland for your sponsorship.