Announcing the South Australian Library & Information Awards (SALIAs) 2023 Shortlist  

Six exceptional members of the LIS sector have been shortlisted for the inaugural South Australian Library and Information Awards (SALIAs) for programs that engage, educate and assist communities. 

Launched earlier in 2023, the SALIAs shine a spotlight on individuals shaping the library and information profession in South Australia. They are designed to acknowledge the dedication, innovation, and excellence demonstrated by library professionals, and celebrate the achievements of those who have made a significant impact in their respective fields.

The shortlisted candidates have designed and delivered programs that directly benefit their communities and have been developed in response to their specific needs. From a new library festival, to custom reading packs to improve literacy outcomes for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, to a world-first individually tailored read-aloud bibliotherapy program to people affected by cancer, these projects show the essential work being done in our libraries to improve the lives of Australians.

Congratulations go to:

Deborah Dunt (Library Programs Coordinator, City of Tea Tree Gully Library)

Tea Tree Gully is on Kaurna land. Only the third extinct language to be revived in the world, Kaurna is being reclaimed as a primary language for Kaurna people as well as being introduced in schools as a language class.Deborah sought to build relationships with Kaurna elders and emerging elders, language professionals and artists to develop two introductory workshops, introducing people to the basics of Kaurna language. 

Sascha Hutchinson (Coordinator Literacy & Learning, City of Charles Sturt Libraries)

Sascha worked with a cross-council library team of dedicated and visionary Library leaders which was to create a literacy inspired and library-led festival for community where FREE entry was only possible with a library membership. The project directly connected with 5,197 SA public library members, and 4,911 people attended a total of 46 performances. Venues included public Libraries, local theatre and performance halls and sports recreation centres.


Alex Kane (Library Officer Technical Services, City of Prospect Library)

Alex has been recognized for her remarkable quantity of ideas, the commitment to sustainability, and the substantial effort invested within this short time span. Key accomplishments include the creation of a Seed Library, a hub dedicated to reusable packaging materials, and developing a ‘Sensitive Topics’ poster aimed at helping patrons locate materials on subjects that are personal, difficult, or potentially embarrassing, without needing to engage with staff.

Benita Parsons (Community Learning Leader, City of Port Adelaide Enfield Libraries)

The project aims are to improve literacy outcomes and access to books for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children as well encourage development of social skills and emotional regulation in young children. The project has resulted in the creation and delivery of 620 packs which include a book written by a First Nations author, a book featuring Karuna language and props to aid storytelling including clap sticks and finger puppets.


Nicole Turner (SSO/ Library Manager, Cowell School Community Library)

Over the last two years, Nicole has been bringing more experiences and opportunities for engagement to her community. Through the success of numerous grants in 2022, she has been able to offer several experiences to the school & community including hosting talks and workshops with authors, scientists and other leadings speakers in the community,  reigniting the library’s Storytime and Baby Bounce program, launching a Techknow program designed to bridge the digital gap in the community and planning the build of a sensory garden in front of the library.


Elizabeth Wells (PhD Candidate, University of South Australia)

This innovative psychosocial program utilises listening and social connection to help restore the health benefits of reading to those living with cancer. Cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) is reported regularly and affects more than half of cancer patients during (and frequently for a time after) all treatment types, with the most impaired functions being attention, processing speed, memory and executive functions. . Brain changes resulting from cancer and its treatment, particularly chemotherapy, led Liz to embrace listening instead of silent reading, as the temporal lobes (utilised when listening) are less impacted by CRCI and so listening to stories may be more manageable than reading for people with cancer. The project was developed from Liz’s own experience as a librarian and cancer survivor, and the experiences of her family and community.


Congratulations to all the shortlisted candidates on these remarkable achievements. The winner will be announced November 14th at the South Australian Library & Information Awards Ceremony.