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Kathy Bail is chief executive of UNSW Press Ltd, a company owned by UNSW Sydney that manages the UNSW Bookshop and publishes award-winning academic and non-fiction books. Its NewSouth Books distribution division represents publishers in the Australian market. She has extensive experience in media management as a journalist at Fairfax Media, Australian Consolidated Press and other companies, editing magazines such as The Bulletin/Newsweek, The Australian Financial Review Magazine and Rolling Stone. She is on the board of Artspace, a contemporary art centre in Sydney, and is a member of the UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Advisory Council.
What inspired you to take this role?
Libraries have been a significant part of my life since I began to read and look at images. I ran out of books to borrow at my primary school library. Fortunately, a local public library filled the gap and I went on to discover and appreciate some of Australia’s great State and university libraries. The past can be seductive – I’ve visited one of the oldest libraries in the world in the Fes medina in Morocco and seen rare books and manuscripts – though I am also engaged by the opportunities and challenges of the digital age. What’s important is access to books and knowledge and, of course, support for our best authors and artists. I hope I can assist to build on the significant work of the State Library of NSW and ensure it remains one of the world’s great cultural spaces.