Gillian Hallam

Associate Professor Dr Gillian Hallam PhD, MA, BA (Hons), BA, Grad Cert in Online Ed, Grad Cert in Higher Ed, Grad Dip in Lib Sci, FHERDSA, FALIA(CP)

Fellowship conferred 2008

Gillian Hallam has been an inspiration and a catalyst for articulating and advancing the future of the library and information service (LIS) profession in Australia. With an emphasis in the area of LIS education and workforce planning, she continues to work towards promoting, understanding and defining the knowledge, skills and attributes required by the information professional in the 21st century.

Her most recent project has extended her work to involve a nationwide survey of the current LIS profession. The neXus census will provide the first detailed picture of the library and information workforce across Australia to inform workplace planning for the sector. This project is unique not only because of the nature and topic of its enquiry but because it has brought together several key Australian LIS institutions including ALIA, Libraries of the Australian Technology Network (LATN), Queensland Office of the Library Cooperation and CAVAL.

She displays enormous passion, commitment and leadership in, and for, the profession, evident in her tenure as President of ALIA during 2005-2006. She has served (and indeed chaired) many ALIA groups and committees, among the most notable being in 2004 when she was Chair of the then ALIA Education Reference Group (now referred to as the Education and Professional Development Standing Committee). In this role she was responsible for the development and management of the policies and standards for LIS education in Australia and is recognised internationally as a leading LIS educator and scholar. She has spoken at numerous conferences and symposiums including the Asia-Pacific Library and Information Education and Practice Conference (Singapore, 2006), where she discussed issues and challenges existing within the library and information management education in Australia.

She is a senior academic at the Queensland University of Technology, joining the faculty in 2000 as a casual academic, appointed four years later as the coordinator of the library education program. In six years she rapidly moved from the position of Lecturer to Associate Professor. Her expertise and experience in teaching and learning has been recognised with five teaching and learning awards including the 2005 Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Team Teaching (with Helen Partridge). In 2005 she led the design and introduction of the Master of Information Management course framework.

She is a passionate and active researcher, focusing on LIS education and workforce planning. In the past six years she has received five research grants including a grant in 2007, from ALIA and National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) to proceed with neXus Stage 2.

Gillian’s work has helped place Australian LIS education at the forefront of the international arena. She has been the driving force behind the progressive approach towards LIS education in place at QUT, recently singled out as a model of Best Practice in Education and Recruitment in an international study of public library staff funded by the Bertelsmann Foundation. Last year, she was invited to be the project leader of a national Carrick funded grant exploring the application and use of e-portfolios in Australia, ensuring that LIS education and LIS professionals are seen to be relevant beyond the LIS context, and placed in a position of influence and leadership across Australia.

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a concern for the free flow of information and believes that it is imperative that LIS students and new graduates become professionals; well versed in the issues and challenges associated with the free flow of information while possessing the skills and knowledge to design and develop services that can actively contribute to their communities.

Gillian has not only been supportive of ALIA but has been one of the Association’s greatest advocates and role models. Perhaps most notably is her efforts to inspire LIS students and new graduates to become active in their professional association. In 2002 Gillian established a joint QUT/ALIA Career Mentoring program as a transitional bridge between university and the workplace. The program provided a wonderful opportunity for students, educators, practitioners and ALIA to work together in shaping the future of the professional workforce and their professional association with the view to establishing a career long relationship.

As a prolific library and information science researcher and educator, she has published over 45 papers and articles to date. One of the goals of Gillian’s research activities is to ensure that there is direct applicability for the various projects in which she is working. Not only engaged in her own research she is actively involved in supporting the development of a culture of research within the broader LIS profession. She contributes to the development of future LIS professionals grounded in evidence based practice by ensuring her students have the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in their area via their studies.

Gillian epitomises excellence in LIS education and is an innovative educator whose primary focus is on developing learning environments that promote and support student engagement and learning. Throughout her career as a library and information science educator, practitioner and researcher, there has been one overwhelming focus – developing the skills and knowledge required by LIS professionals to ensure the ongoing dynamic development and implementation of LIS services. Her passion lies in the understanding and support of the next generation of LIS professionals. The neXus project that she designed and implemented demonstrates the dedication she has towards ensuring that future LIS professionals acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to design and deliver relevant and appropriate services.