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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 Medina of Fez 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.
Photo: Kathy Bail is photographed at Donald Horne’s desk, in front of Donald and Myfanwy Horne’s book collection. Both the desk and the books, including some distinctive Australian editions, are housed in the Donald & Myfanwy Horne Room, which is used by Fellows of the Library. Kathy holds a copy of the first newspaper printed in Australia, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, and journals and manuscripts from the Mitchell Library collection are arranged on the desk.