ALS Public Libraries Sa Conference 2022 - Disruption & Reconnection: No longer business as usual

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Day 1 – Thursday 9 June 2022



ALS Library Services


Lisa McAskill, MC

Lisa is best known for her role as a presenter on Channel 9’s Postcards program, a role she enjoyed for 14 years. Lisa also appeared on Postcards Australia which aired nationally on the Win Network and internationally on the Discovery Channel. Lisa has had on camera crash courses in all manner of extreme sports. All in the name of a good story. Her enduring TV career includes more than 70 local, national and international TV commercials and numerous tourism, corporate and training documentaries. In 2011, Lisa established Lisa McAskill Presenting with a focus on the training of presenters and media mentoring. The business has evolved to include a production arm that includes writing, producing and directing online video content for individuals and businesses, social impact video content and TV commercials.
President’s Address

Damian Garcia
Public Libraries SA
and Unit Manager Libraries, City of Marion


Welcome to Country and Connecting with First Nations in Genuine Ways

Jack Buckskin
Cultural Mentor, Tauondi Aboriginal College

As a business owner and community representative Jack Buckskin will talk about engaging with community members re community engagement and sourcing and effectively working with Aboriginal business from his experience professionally and personally.


A proud Kaurna and Narungga man Jack Kanya Kudnuitya Buckskin has dedicated his life to re-learning and passing on his knowledge and language to the future generations of Kaurna people, especially his own children, in which he speaks the once said ‘extinct Kaurna language’ of the Adelaide Plains. Through managing and performing song and dance with Kuma Kaaru Cultural Services, teaching Kaurna language and being a strong icon in the revitalisation process of Kaurna language, Jack has had the opportunity to promote and teach about his language and culture around the world. Jack now works with Tauondi Aboriginal College in Port Adelaide as an Aboriginal Cultural Service Mentor. Jack believes that the language has come from the land, this is the only place you will find this language in the world, the language was in the country before we were born, the language is still here today and will still be here tomorrow, as residents it is our duty to makes sure this continues, so we need to learn it and use it together.

Keynote Address: Disruption & Reconnection

Jean Kittson

Books can take you to unfamiliar places, among strangers and new voices, while you are at home. And when you travel to these places, among these strangers, familiar books and their intimate voices can keep open the way home.


Jean Kittson is a public speaker, actor, comedian and scriptwriter for stage, television, theatre, radio. She is the author of You’re still hot to me, the joys of menopause and her latest book We need to talk about mum and dad – a practical guide to parenting our parents.

She is the Patron of Palliative Care Nurses Australia, and an Ambassador for the Macular Disease Foundation, the Australian Gynaecological Foundation, the Raise Foundation (youth mentoring) and Taldumande Youth Services.

10.55amMorning Tea
Hybrid Working 2.0 – Humanising the Office

Dr Sean Gallagher
Centre for the New Workforce

Dr Gallagher will discuss how the rise of flexible working is profoundly changing employee expectations but that current hybrid approaches are not sustainable. He will make the case for a strategic approach to hybrid working that’s a win-win for both workers and organisations. Done right hybrid working allows organisations to effectively compete in the war for talent and support employee wellbeing.


Dr. Sean Gallagher is Director of the Centre for the New Workforce (CNeW) at Swinburne University and is an internationally recognised expert on the future of work. He supports leaders to help them understand the impact of disruptive change on work and how it is transforming the workforce and workplace. He works with business and government across all sectors through research-informed analysis to help create value through unleashing the potential of their people. His research on Australian workers and workforces and the future of work has been widely endorsed, including by APEC, Engineers Australia, TAFE Directors Australia, the Taiwanese Workforce Development Agency, and the Victorian government. His research helps shape policy outcomes, including most recently the Victorian Government Inquiry into the On-Demand Economy. Sean holds a PhD in chemistry.

Gold sponsor – Bolinda

Gold sponsor – Resource Furniture

Code Red Opportunities

Josie McLean
Creative Director
The Partnership

We know climate change is happening, and yet many of us have become somewhat complacent – the events of the last three years should be waking us up, big time! If the recent Federal election results are any indication, perhaps we are waking up. It can be challenging to work out how to contribute to the required changes. The changes can feel too big and too overwhelming for many of us. Many will tell us that technology is always the answer. It’s not! In this too-short presentation, Dr Josie McLean will explain why your role as librarians and community builders is so significant to generating the cultural changes we need in society to accompany the technical changes as we respond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s code red alert.


After an early career as a corporate strategic planner in the auto and finance industries, Josie changed tack and followed her passion for helping people unleash forces for a better future. She was an early pioneer of and contributor to the professional coaching industry in Australasia, for which she was recognised internationally in 2009. She continues to influence the professional coaching industry globally as a co-founder of the Climate Coaching Alliance. The CCA has grown from 3 to 2000 since Nov 2019 and influenced 250,000 coaches indirectly through 11 professional bodies signing a joint declaration to address climate and ecological crises with their members. It’s a story of how a small shift can catalyse big shifts. In 2017, Josie completed her doctoral thesis about embedding sustainability into organisational DNA, and was awarded a Dean’s Commendation for Excellence. Her research informs how she partners with individuals, teams and organisations to develop the leadership and organisational capability to address complex challenges like culture, climate and sustainability. Josie’s past clients include major blue-chip organisations, all three tiers of governments, medium-sized tech firms and universities. She helps them find new ways of perceiving ‘what is’ that reveal opportunities to respond differently.


Innovation and Reinvention

Richard Turner (SA)

Richard will speak to us in this session about innovation, the validation of new ideas, taking these ideas to market and successfully scaling.


Richard is a renowned Australian Entrepreneur, Leader and Innovator. He has founded four successful companies/organisations across four different industry sectors, was South Australian Entrepreneur of the Year for two of those companies 14 years apart (1996 & 2010) and Australian Entrepreneur of the Year for the Cleantech sector in 2010. His most recent venture, ZEN Energy was recognised as the fastest growing company in South Australia for 2010 & 2011 and the 4th fastest growing company in Australia in 2012 (BRW magazine). Richard is a specialist in re-invention and industry disruption, he is passionate about sustainability and wants to ideally assist companies that are driving change for the better, believe in their purpose and add value to future generations.

His recent book “The Essential Entrepreneur” has just been picked up by Wiley Publishing for global release set for October this year. A test print run was released in 4 independent book stores and hit their top 10 bestsellers list, a rare achievement for a business book!

Network Brand Launch

Ben Nitschke & Alice McKenzie

Over the last 12 months, NATION has been working with Public Libraries SA (PLSA) and Public Library Services (PLS) to explore, define and articulate the meaning and purpose at the heart of Public Libraries. Backed by research and consultation with the Public Libraries network, NATION will be presenting thought-provoking findings to help us imagine the possibilities for the future.


NATION is a marketing and communications services agency that applies holistic thinking to deliver strategic creativity. NATION uses a strategy-led and evidence-based approach to problem solving, designed to provide meaningful creative solutions that achieve business goals. By combining decades of industry experience with the psychology of decision-making, NATION brings the rational together with the emotional to influence their clients’ audiences.

3.10pmAfternoon tea
Panel Session – How Libraries can position themselves: funding and innovation from a local government perspective

Facilitator: Lisa McAskillLisa McAskill


Jane Cowell
CEO, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Mayor Claire Boan
City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Lynn Spurling
Libary & Tourism Coordinator, Copper Coast Libraries

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic magnified the changing role of public libraries, but they responded swiftly and creatively to meet their communities’ evolving needs. Looking at it from a Local Government perspective, panelists will discuss how they think libraries can best position themselves for Council funding and innovation opportunities going forward, including insights around:

  • increasing visibility
  • relationship building
  • ensuring and/or increasing Council funding
  • support for innovation


Jane Cowell is the CEO of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library which recently featured in The Guardian article about her library service reaching out to families without the internet in Victoria with home wifi. Known as an innovator in the library world Jane worked for 8 years at the State Library of Queensland as both the Director of Engagement and the Director of Regional Access & Public libraries. Key projects during this appointment were the development of the First 5 Forever program which attracted $20 million investment for early literacy in libraries over 4 years, employing a Creative In Residence, Dr Matt Finch, to drive new thinking and the creation of the Impact of Creative Spaces toolkit for libraries to measure their impact. Jane is currently serving on the International Federation of Library Associations Public Library Section committee and has previously held a director position on the Australian Library Information Association Board. Jane is passionate about public libraries as creative community spaces and their role in connecting communities with technology trends and is working with her team on the challenge of building community confidence to return to libraries after such a challenging two years. Jane’s blog on Medium discusses Library issues and library innovations and she is known for her Twitter library presence.


Claire Boan is the Mayor of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and has been since the November 2018 Local Government Elections. She was previously the Deputy Mayor as well as a Ward Councillor for 8 years. Her involvement with Council committees over the 10 years includes the Audit Committee, Development Assessment Panel/Council Assessment Panel, Grants and Sponsorship Committee, Aboriginal Advisory Panel as well as involvement with wider local government committees. Claire is a leader with a strong background in education through her teaching and leadership roles. She is committed to providing responsible governance, enhancing relationships and environmental sustainability whilst generating and influencing programs to connect individuals and community groups with one another. Claire has three children and enjoys adventuring with them, exploring the great outdoors.


Lynn Spurling was first employed in November 1985 as the Chief Librarian (many may not know that our network was originally CLASA – Chief Librarians Association of SA) for the District Council of Northern Yorke Peninsula. Since that time Lynn’s position has continued to evolve but has still allowed her to work closely with her community. Seeking additional professional opportunities Lynn joined PLSA in 2005 as a regional representative and continued on the Committee until November 2019, during which time she was Vice President 2011 & 2012 and President 2013 to 2019. From 2013 to 2019, Lynn also represented South Australia in her role as President on the APLA National Committee. Lynn was elected as the PLSA representative on the Standing Committee in 2010 and continued on that Committee until 2019, the last 4 years of that time as the Chairperson. Lynn served on the Libraries Board from 2011 until 2019.

0-3 Taskforce

Kate Ellis

The most crucial developmental milestones take place well before our children go to even preschool – from childhood health professional visits to engaging with libraries and communities, playgroups etc and especially for the most vulnerable in the communities. Despite this, evidence shows that South Australian children are behind the national average in reaching milestones before they reach school age.

In response to this, a new 0-3 Taskforce has been formed, led by Raising Literacy Australia underpinned by government support, this taskforce is comprised of South Australian government agencies, non government agencies and service providers who operate in the landscape of ‘early childhood’.

The broad goal is to provide clearer and consistent information about the importance of early childhood brain development and the importance of frequent positive interactions with children. The taskforce is also working to increase collaboration across providers tp benefit children and their families.


Kate has been appointed by lead agency Raising Literacy Australia to work with South Australian government departments and non-government organisations (NGOs) who interact with families of young children to increase the efforts and effectiveness of supporting the development of children aged 0-3.

Rod East Fellowship Award Announcement

The Rod East Memorial Fellowship is awarded on a biennial basis, in recognition of the very significant contribution made by Rod East to the Librarianship Profession. Rod was Chief Librarian at the City of Noarlunga from 1981 to 1986. Under his leadership Noarlunga Library became the first joint-use library in South Australia. The Fellowship enables a person, involved in the South Australian public library field to undertake a program of research within Australia or overseas.

Close and Networking Drinks/Nibbles

Lisa McAskill, MC


Day 2 – Friday 10 June 2022

9am  Introduction

Lisa McAskill, MC

9.05am Welcome

Hon Emily Bourke MLC
Assistant Minister to the Premier

Keynote Address: Innovation in Action – Reinvention Through Technology

Steve Sammartino
Host & creator
The Rebound TV Show

The art of innovation, isn’t just about the tools we have, it’s the way we put the pieces together. And now that tech has provided so many options – it’s time to get busy. The good news is that we don’t need to be experts in everything new, rather we need a culture of making change happen. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. With the world moving faster than ever, innovation is an attitude, it’s not about big budgets or innovations departments. It’s the new normal and needs to be present in all corners of every organisation.

In this keynote, Steve Sammartino explores how we move beyond knowing what’s next, to actually inventing it. How to empower staff to reinvent themselves, and create an environment where tomorrow is more important than yesterday. This talk covers the most effective methods for product and process innovation where small changes can have a massive impact on your organization. With the audience inspired by what they can do, they’ll know exactly what they must do next.


Steve Sammartino is the host and creator TV Show The Rebound – A future focused weekly TV show on Channel 9 nationally. The show empowers people to get the most of out technology in their career and business. Now in it’s second season, it is now running in 3 other countries via the Discovery Channel.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it. And no one has a more profound understanding of what it’s going to be like than Steve Sammartino. But knowing what the future holds and being able to do something about it are two different prospects, entirely. You need more than a tour guide to get you there. You need innovation in action. You need to listen to Steve Sammartino.

Turns out, people do. Last year alone, Steve spoke to over 100,000 people in 14 countries, which is why he’s Australia’s leading futurist and international keynote speaker. Steve Sammartino is also the author of two best-selling tech strategy books: The Great Fragmentation (a technology strategy playbook) and The Lesson School Forgot (the industrialisation of teaching) and how to liberate our inner entrepreneur. In 2020, Steve created the hugely successful TV show, The Rebound (Nine Network), a 6 part series all about helping Australian businesses bounce back.

As a tech entrepreneur and growth hacker, Steve Sammartino has an intimate knowledge of the tools reshaping our world and how they affect business. He’ll show you how to use those tools to ignite the future, reinvent yourself and transform where and how you get work done, thus creating a culture of making change happen. Steve Sammartino employs his sharp sense of humour to communicate complex ideas in a simple way that leaves the audience excited about the future, instead of frightened of it.

10.15amMorning Tea
Building Communities & Generating Impact

Dr Kristin Alford
University of South Australia

The disruption of COVID alongside other major shifts such as digital disruption, climate action and decolonisation has put the role of cultural institutions in the community into the spotlight. At MOD. the core focus is on inspiring young people about the future, which can be tricky in the midst of disruption. In this talk, Kristin will share how the vision enables experiments to build community and affect positive change.


Dr Kristin Alford is a futurist and the Director of MOD. at the University of South Australia. MOD. is an immersive museum of discovery, a place to be and be inspired. Kristin leads a team of science communicators and designers developing immersive experiences to showcase research and innovation to young adults. This work has been recognized by a number of awards from the Asia-Pacific Network of Science Centres and the Australian Museums and Galleries Association.

Prior to this role, Kristin was the founding director of foresight agency Bridge8, facilitating futures and engagement on water sustainability, nanotechnology, health, advanced manufacturing, clean technologies and climate futures for government, corporates and not-for-profits.

She is President of the Australia Science and Technology Engagement Network (ASTEN), a member of the global Future-Oriented Museums Synergies Steering Committee, the Inspiring South Australia Steering Group, and the Art & Culture Advisory Board for Lot Fourteen.

Previously she has served on the board of Study Adelaide, The Australian Institute for Urban Studies, Annesley College Council and ANAT and the Advisory Board for the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE). She was the inaugural licensee and host of TEDxAdelaide and lectured foresight and social change at the University of Adelaide.

Kristin has had various careers in engineering, human resources, strategy and product development for companies including BHP Billiton, Ansett-Air New Zealand, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and Nanotechnology Victoria. She holds a PhD in process engineering from the University of Queensland and a Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists.

Libraries as Supportive Spaces: Reading Books for Pleasure and Wellbeing

Dr Margaret Merga
Author and Speaker

Given the current challenges facing young people, it is more important now than ever that libraries act as safe and supportive spaces for young people. Drawing on her most recent research, Margaret will discuss how libraries can be nurturing spaces where young people can read books for pleasure and wellbeing. She will present new findings from her recent publications that illustrate how library professionals can foster reading engagement to support young people to escape from stressors, find role models in characters, and develop empathy through their reading experiences.


Dr Margaret K. Merga is the author of more than 85 peer-reviewed journal articles in librarianship, literacy and higher education, and the author of 2019 books, ‘Librarians as literacy educators in schools’ and ‘Reading engagement for tweens and teens’. She is also the co-author of 2020 book ‘Conducting quantitative research in education’. In 2020 she was honoured as the inaugural Patron of the Australian School Library Association. She has provided many consultancies in at schools, professional organisations and universities, delivering a range of invited keynotes and professional development sessions to draw attention to the value of libraries as essential literacy resources.

12.40pm Lunch
Supporting Entrepreneurs and Local Small Business: Work and Economic Growth

Anna Burkey
Australia Reads and the Australian Publishers Association

In this session, Anna will look at the journey State Library Victoria has taken to support new business owners as they navigate the challenges of establishing a brand-new enterprise, and the role libraries can play in supporting these founders.


Anna Burkey has a passion for books, libraries, and learning. Hailing from Scotland, where she was on the founding team of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, Anna now lives in Melbourne/Naarm.

Recently, Anna established StartSpace, a new centre for early-stage business founders at State Library Victoria. StartSpace is designed to increase access and support for new founders, and to explore the future of work in our city and our state. Got a business idea and not sure where to start? Start at StartSpace. For free, for everyone. After several years with State Library Victoria and StartSpace, developing programs like creative business accelerator Foundry658, Anna’s over the moon to be taking on Australia Reads, using her entrepreneurial skills to get more people reading more books, more often.

Panel Session: Funding Negotiations, Media and the Value of Libraries

Facilitator: Lisa McAskill


Damian Garcia
President, Public Libraries SA

Jane Cowell
CEO, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Mayor Angela Evans
President, Local Government Association of SA

Elaine Bensted
Chief Executive Officer, Adelaide and Monarto Zoo

There is a need to be increasingly proactive and strategic in longer term campaigning for State Government Funding. Panellists will discuss how the public library network in SA can effectively position itself for future funding discussions by promoting and sharing the value of libraries.

How can we as a group:

  • be more prepared for future negotiations and campaigns
  • capture and share stories of value
  • gather data that leads to greater outcomes
  • have greater influence on state-wide decisions

At a time when many sectors such as retail, banking and investment are promoting themselves as responsible, ethical and sustainable, what role can we play in raising awareness of libraries as ethical and sustainable institutions?

Mayor Angela Evans

Mayor Angela Evans has been the City of Charles Sturt Mayor since the November 2014 Local Government Elections, and is the current Local Government Association President, a position she will hold until 2022.

She was previously the Deputy Mayor of Charles Sturt in 2010/11 and 2013/14, as well as Ward Councillor for the Woodville West Ward in Charles Sturt from 2006 to 2014. Her involvement with Council, Community and Local Government committees during her time on Council is extensive and includes participation in the Gender Matters Panel, the Greater Adelaide Region Organisation of Councils, Central Adelaide Waste and Recycling Authority and the Climate Emergency Australia Strategic Advisory Group.

Elaine Bensted

Elaine Bensted is Chief Executive, Zoos South Australia commencing in 2012. Since being in the role Elaine has led an improvement in the financial position of this conservation charity and an increase in Zoos SA membership base from 26,000 to over 50,000. She also led the work that culminated in the release of a 20 year Master Plan for Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park. Elaine is Vice President of the Zoo and Aquarium Association and Board member on a number of Boards.


3.10pm Afternoon Tea
Reconnection: Libraries Supporting Communities to Thrive

Jane Cowell
Yarra Plenty Regional Library

Jane will present on the importance of libraries reframing their reconnection with communities based on the community’s need with case studies from libraries around the world focusing on reconnecting with communities through health and wellness programs and innovative partnerships. She will also showcase the recent Victorian Return Yourself to the Library campaign and the outcomes to date.


Jane is the CEO of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library which recently featured in The Guardian article about her library service reaching out to families without the internet in Victoria with home wifi. Known as an innovator in the library world Jane worked for 8 years at the State Library of Queensland as both the Director of Engagement and the Director of Regional Access & Public libraries. Key projects during this appointment were the development of the First 5 Forever program which attracted $20 million investment for early literacy in libraries over 4 years, employing a Creative In Residence, Dr Matt Finch, to drive new thinking and the creation of the Impact of Creative Spaces toolkit for libraries to measure their impact. Jane is currently serving on the International Federation of Library Associations Public Library Section committee and has previously held a director position on the Australian Library Information Association Board. Jane is passionate about public libraries as creative community spaces and their role in connecting communities with technology trends and is working with her team on the challenge of building community confidence to return to libraries after such a challenging two years. Jane’s blog on Medium discusses Library issues and library innovations and she is known for her Twitter library presence.

Using Arts to Connect

Jess Scully
Deputy Lord Mayor,
City of Sydney

This session will discuss Arts helping to bring people back out into the community and reconnect as we come out of the pandemic, making people feel safe to connect again. Arts programs can support wellbeing, social connection, community development, capacity building and creative industries.


Jess Scully is an author, curator and community representative who uses creativity to support and inspire everyone to get involved in shaping a sustainable and inclusive future.

She has been the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney since 2019 and an elected community representative since 2016. As a Councillor at the City of Sydney, Jess advocates for new models to address the housing crisis and support a more inclusive economy, is working on reviving nightlife and expanding access to culture, and on opening up politics to younger and more diverse people, to expand who plays a role in shaping the life of the city.

Prior to that she was the founding director of festival Vivid Ideas, Australia’s largest creative industries event; and has worked as a policy advisor, a public art curator, cultural strategist, radio host and magazine editor.

Her first book, ‘Glimpses of Utopia: Real Ideas for a Fairer World’, was published by Pantera Press in August 2020. ‘Glimpses of Utopia’ explores projects from around the world empowering people and communities to build a future we can be excited about: from participatory democracy to power bottom-up decision making, to for-purpose finance drawn from ancient traditions, structures for fairness in land use and collaborative city-making, and much more. Jess is passionate about promoting and incubating solutions to bring climate and social justice into being in Sydney and cities around the world.





Lisa McAskill, MC


5.25pmNetworking drinks