5 minutes with Lisa from Western Downs Libraries, recipient of the VALA2018 Diversity Scholarship

Lisa Harth has been awarded The VALA2018 Diversity Scholarship. In her application Lisa stated:

“I am new to leadership of a Library service and find that my skills and contacts in technology are just enough to “keep the ship afloat” but I believe that with exposure to a forum such as VALA I would gain insight into possibilities which could propel our Library service into one of the leading regional services in our State.

I believe Libraries are well-positioned to offer opportunities for learning, experimentation, co-creation and business incubation in an area with little access to any of these.”

Lisa Harth, Library Services Coordinator for nine branches of the Western Downs Regional Council

How did you first come to be part of the libraries?

I fell into Libraries by accident. I’d applied for an admin role in a school but missed out and was offered a role in the Library instead. And from there, I was completely hooked on Libraries. I started in Western Downs Libraries as a Library Assistant and worked up to Coordinator.

Can you share a memorable story from your time in libraries?

The very first QPLA conference I attended was an epiphany. So many knowledgeable and passionate people speaking about ideas I’d never heard of. I think that’s when I really started to see the big picture of how Libraries can make an impact.

What do you love most about libraries?

Early literacy is something I get a bit nerdy about. I really enjoy watching the development of language in the young ones and how it is enriched by those wonderful interactions with the Library. I think it’s one of the things we do best.

What do you think libraries need to do next?

I think we need to help our communities harness technology – but in a way that furthers the human experience. The ways we help people use it to realise their best self and enjoy themselves while doing it is an exciting challenge. I also think we need to be ahead of the curve with machine learning – who knows where that’s going to go and what it will mean for Libraries and communities.

If you had unlimited resources what would be the number one thing you would do?

I would hire the best marketing firm money could buy and set about having them mount the most gargantuan media campaign to promote Libraries and what we do. It would be so big, it would make the election marketing look paltry by comparison; Vicki McDonald would be getting calls to be a guest on The Gruen Factor; the catch-phrase would be so well-known it would be a question on quiz shows.

About the author: Lisa Harth is Library Services Coordinator for nine branches of the Western Downs Regional Council – Dalby.