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Winning project set to awaken reading for WA’s pre-schoolers

Winning project set to awaken reading for WA’s pre-schoolers 

Ms Ruth Campbell-Hicks, Principal Librarian at the Shire of Harvey Library, was awarded the 2013 Kay Poustie Scholarship at a State Library of Western Australia award ceremony which took place on 23 May during Library and Information Week.

Ms Campbell-Hicks, who has 20 years’ experience in library management, is passionate about early literacy.

She plans to visit Canada, USA, Ireland and Norway to explore successful early literacy programs for young children aged from 0-6 years.

All around the world libraries play a major role in early literacy education. Children of this age have extremely active brains, at a peak for learning spoken and written language.  Investing time, effort and money at this stage has well proven benefits for the rest of the child’s life”, said Ms Campbell-Hicks.

“The costs to society of children who do not develop literacy skills during the early years can include unemployment, criminality, poor health, and low income.  With libraries being free, welcoming, and open to all, they are ideal facilities to help prevent such widespread social difficulties,” she said.

Ms Campbell-Hicks believes the countries she has selected have similar Western cultures to Australia, suggesting that their programs would be well received and assimilated in WA.

“Knowledge of these successful programs will complement the already pro-active stance of WA libraries in early literacy to maintain momentum and work creatively towards a strong future,” she said.

The Kay Poustie scholarship is an international study grant managed by the State Library of Western Australia Foundation. Its objective is to bring an international perspective to the WA public library network. It is awarded annually to advance professional development and enhance the role of libraries across Western Australia as a means to lifelong learning.

The Award was presented by Mr Conrad Crisafulli, Chair of the Foundation.

“Kay Poustie was a role model and mentor for many members of the Western Australian public library profession, and the scholarship enables Kay’s legacy to live on to foster the potential in library professionals,” said Mr Crisafulli.

“Kay Poustie was a former Chair of the Library Board of WA and a long serving Library Manager at City of Stirling libraries.  She was an advocate for learning from colleagues overseas for the benefit of the WA network,” he said.

Mr Crisafulli thanked the many people who donated funds to establish the scholarship, including the many friends of Kay Poustie. 

Donations to the scholarship or for literacy programs can be made securely at


Birute Greenhalgh
Development & Marketing Manager
State Library of Western Australia Foundation
T: 08 9427 3210

Background information follows



Kay served twice on the Library Board of Western Australia, first as a representative for the Local Government Association  from 1990-1993, then as the representative of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) from 1998-2006.  She twice served as Chairman, firstly during 2001 and later between 2002-2006.

During this time, Kay oversaw major developments in relations between the State Library of Western Australia and WA public libraries, including the signing of the Framework Agreement and the acquisition of a further $10.3 million in local government funds for library resources.
Kay was passionate about library education and was a role model and mentor for many members of the Western Australian public library profession. She served on the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Board of Education. In 1997 she was conferred with a Fellowship of the Association.
Kay worked tirelessly to see the State Library of Western Australia Foundation become a reality. A lifelong contributor to non-profit ventures, Kay also served in a variety of roles as a member of Zonta International and also for Meath Care.
Kay was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2008 for her service to the library and information services sector and to community organisations. In 2010 the Library Board of WA posthumously conferred upon her a Library Board Fellowship in recognition of her significant contribution to the library profession.

The grant aims to create global experiences for WA based librarians with a purpose to explore ideas and initiatives of relevance and bring back the findings for potential implementation to WA’s public library system from the following areas:
·        Leadership - of the profession generally and public library services
·        Professional development of staff
·        Innovation in library practice
·        Client service initiatives


The Foundation was established 2009. The Foundation is the fundraising arm of the State Library Western Australia. It holds Deductible Gift Recipient status and is a Public Ancillary Fund. 

Our Purpose

The State Library Foundation exists to financially support the initiatives of the State Library of Western Australia to empower and transform the lives of the Western Australian community

Our Vision

To have the additional financial and other resources available to proactively support the aspirations of the State Library of Western Australia

Our Goals

1.      To secure financial and in kind donations for the Library’s programs, collections and capital projects.
2.      To achieve financial and organisational independence for the Foundation.
3.      To work with the State Library to:

  • Develop collections of Western Australian significance.
  • Encourage a universal regard for literacy and a literate state.
  • Encourage a love of learning, the joy of discovery and cultivation of creativity.

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