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WA Leadership and Innovation Forum, SLWA, 19 November 2015



There was a great vibe at the inaugural WA Leadership and Innovation Forum with a record 75 in attendance! Ghylene Palmer, WA ALIA Director, introduced the event with pins awarded to new WA members of the ALIA 25 year Club.

The theme of the Forum was ‘Finding the innovation Sweet Spot’ with the discussion hosted by Tricia Genat, ALIA Vice-President. On the panel were: James Dexter, Director Creative and Regional Development, WA Museum; Alison Sutherland, Director Collection Services SLWA; Con Wiebrands, University Librarian ECU; Cheryl Parrott, Library Manager City of Perth, and Kathryn Greenhill, Clinical Professional Fellow, Information Studies, Curtin University.

The first question addressed to the panel focused on the fundamentals of our industry. At the WA Museum, meeting the deadlines on projects is extremely important. To Kathryn, connecting people and information is fundamental, with Con noting that this information is now mostly electronic and remotely accessed. Being responsible for heritage collections, Alison identified the safety of physical and digital collections as fundamental. To the staff of the City of Perth libraries, the fundamentals are summed up in three words - flexible, adaptable and responsive. To Cheryl, while innovation implies cutting edge, it also involves relevant and responsive change. Kathryn added that good innovation is not only novel, but also useful and fit for purpose. All members of the panel agreed that empowering staff was crucial in implementing innovation.

The question about the single most innovative development over the last three years drew a wide range of interesting responses. Cheryl gave the example of wallpaper displaying borrowable digital titles with QR Codes. Alison identified the Storylines project as innovative as it connected Indigenous people to the SLWA photographic collections. James cited the simple touch screens installed at the National ANZAC Centre. Commenting that real innovation is small but powerful, Kathryn referred to the API interface of Trove as an example. Con identified the new procurement service at ECU as an innovative new service meeting the demands of electronic resources and licensing. The audience also provided examples of innovations such as the “Off the Grid” program allowing staff time to work on innovative projects and the rebranding of library jobs.

The entire discussion and audience participation at the WA Forum was refreshing. While innovation has a novel aspect, it also needs to be useful and fit for purpose. Most of the examples given were simple but sustainable, reinforcing the fundamental of what we do: linking people to information.

Thank you to the ALIAWest Committee for assisting on the night. It was also great to see volunteers from other ALIA groups in attendance especially from WALT and WA ARL. Congratulations to all new members of the WA ALIA 25 Year Club.


Noreen Kirkman, WA ALIA State Manager, noreen.kirkman@alia.org.au

About Ghylene

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