Determined to spread the library love: ALIA in Sydney

Despite the unfortunate last-minute cancellation of Fair Day ahead of Mardi Gras last week, ALIA staff remained committed to sharing the ‘Library Love’ in Sydney and connecting with many great and good people who contribute to our strong and vibrant profession.

With some quick rearrangements of plans, Phoebe Weston-Evans and Jacqui Lucas from ALIA travelled to Sydney to host a Mardi Gras dance practice in Harold Park Playground in Glebe. Many Sydney parks and gardens are currently cordoned off, but a suitable grassy spot was found, and to the delight of passers-by, they rehearsed the ‘Love to Love You’ choreography for the big parade. ALIA parade organisers are humbled and thrilled that so many participants are going to great efforts with their costumes and travelling to attend the parade to represent their regional library and communities.

From the park it was on to The Toxteth in Glebe for an ALIA member meet-up. A small yet mighty band of library folk shared food and drinks and some lovely connections were made. ALIA Board member Kathryn Eyre joined us to chat to members.

Photos above (L to R): Mardi Gras dance practice in Harold Park Playground in Glebe; ALIA member meet up at the Toxteth

On Sunday morning, the wonderful staff at Darling Square Library welcomed Phoebe and Jacqui where they had a tour of the space, delighting in current displays and the innovative makerspace.  From there, time was taken to walk the various paths to the Mardi Gras marshalling area to ensure full accessibility for our members who are marching.

Monday included a visit to the sensational University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Library, where University Librarian, Michael Gonzalez, provided a generous tour of the space. Great care and attention go into the UTS Library space, with a full-time curator in residence to find creative and meaningful ways to bring the collections alive and to mould the space to the needs of students and researchers.

Photos above (L to R): Phoebe in front of the Darling Square Library; Jacqui and Phoebe inside the UTS Library; Phoebe enjoying a book and art display by 2022 UTS Creative in Residence Katy B Plummer; Phoebe with University Librarian Michael Gonzalez talking about the UTS Library space

The whirlwind trip concluded with a visit to Nicholas Stewart, partner at Dowson Turco Lawyers, an out and proud law firm, to discuss collaboration. Nick hosted the brilliant webinar Stand up for your rights (member resource) last year, and is keen to support library staff understand their rights and responsibilities in public spaces.

ALIA has a float in the 2024 Mardi Gras Parade. Look out for the ‘Library Love’ crew on Saturday evening 2 March, we are float #98! Below is a range of Pride related events hosted in libraries in NSW and ACT, from 22 February until 31 March. Hit the link below the poster to download the full interactive version!

Download the poster