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Update on new State Library structure

As you will be aware, the State Library of NSW’s new Divisional Structure was approved by the Library Council of New South Wales 12 months ago. Since then we have transitioned dozens of roles as required by the new GSE Act so as to meet the 23 February 2015 deadline.

A vital element towards implementing the new structure was the appointment of Executives to leadership roles. After a rigorous external recruitment process, I am pleased to announce that Lucy Milne has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Public Libraries and Engagement Division.

The other directorships are being finalised and our new structure will be officially adopted on Monday 9 March 2015. Vicki McDonald has been appointed Executive Director of the Library and Information Services Division & Dixson Librarian and Richard Neville as Mitchell Librarian & Director of the Education and Scholarship Division. The recruitment process is underway for the Director of Digital Experience Division & Chief Information Officer, Director State Library Foundation & Executive Manager Advancement, and the Director, Operations and Infrastructure Division & Chief Financial Officer.  The new structure will place the Library in a great position to tackle the future needs and challenges of clients and visitors and the public library network in particular.

The Public Libraries and Engagement Division will build on the Library’s achievements under the leadership of Frances Sims, who will be leaving the Library on 6 March 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Frances for her dedication over the past six years and wish her the best for the next stage of her career.

Frances has made a major contribution to the State Library during her time as the Director, Public Library and Community Learning Services, with far-reaching benefits to people and communities right across the state.

The establishment of the Library’s Learning Services branch under Frances’ leadership has been a great success story. Its strong outreach focus through wonderful initiatives like the Far Out! Treasures to the Bush program has firmly placed the Library as a vital education resource for schools. For Frances, a personal highlight was securing funding for the Glasshouse Learning Centre and the development of onsite services targeting children and families – a first for the Library.

Over $20 million in additional grants funding for public libraries has been secured over the last six years, in a difficult environment of reducing budgets. The Revitalising Regional Libraries funding program is reaching its conclusion on 30 June. Over the past four years the Library’s Service has managed the deployment of WiFi Hotspots in 126 country public libraries out of a possible 139 – a fantastic achievement. 

Achievements relating to the LIAC and Drug Info services include re-modelling the LIAC service after funding was withdrawn and establishing strong links for LIAC with local courts in regional areas, as well as consolidating our find legal answers online as the most heavily used part of the State Library's website. Drug Info has continued to develop in partnership with NSW Health, just one of the many stakeholders that the State Library fosters on behalf of the public library network.

Working with the talented Public Library Services, LIAC and teams, Frances has built the Library’s relationships with public libraries and local government, and has worked with key stakeholders as a member of the PLCC and the LIAC Advisory Board.

I am sure that you will join me in saying farewell to Frances and offering our best wishes for her future endeavours.

Your key State Library contacts will continue as normal, and Lucy plans to introduce herself in person to as many librarians and libraries as possible in the coming months. 

Under Lucy Milne’s directorship, the Division will continue the Library’s strong relationship with Local Councils by providing strategic advice, funding and services to support public libraries.

With a focus on public libraries, the Division drives the Library’s commitment to providing rich opportunities for the community to access its services and collections – onsite, online and on tour. 

The Division develops and implements a dynamic exhibition and event program and manages strong and varied external partnerships. A recent example of this is the Library’s partnership with the Australian Theatre for Young People, which has resulted in an extraordinary new Australian play inspired by the Library’s collection of World War One letters and diaries. A Town Called War Boy will be performed at the Library from 29 April to 9 May 2015. 

The Division also manages commercial activities including the Library Shop and venue hire, as well as the work of the State Library Foundation.

If you have any questions about the Public Libraries and Engagement Division, please don’t hesitate to contact Lucy Milne directly: (02) 9273 1763,

Alex Byrne
NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive