QPLA PD Intensive 2023 wrap up

The QPLA Board have just put their feet up after holding their Professional Development Intensive – Sustainability | Diversity | Inclusion.  Just over 100 delegates attended the two-day workshop held in sunny Noosa Heads on 16-17 October 2023.

The PD Intensive featured a range of speakers from across Queensland libraries, State Library and ALIA, as well as keynote speakers Yumi Stynes, Dr Bridie Kean, Chris and Angela Meyer.

Day one was off to a great start with the QPLA AGM – always a crowd pleaser, before the launch of the PD itself. Following an engaging Welcome to County presented by local Kabi Kabi man, Zeke Davis and a rousing Noosa welcome from Director, Community Services, Kerri Contini, delegates settled in to hear the first round of Lightning Talks presented by a range of library staff from library services across Queensland.  Topics included traineeships, project skills for library staff, equity of access, picturing your past and getting more from your image database with AI. 

The Noosa Library team took the opportunity at lunch to showcase their new Mobile Library vehicle, which was a big hit with most delegates.  This smaller vehicle is well utilised across the Noosa region, and features strongly in Noosa’s resigning Outreach Library Services, which was presented on Day 2. State Library of Queensland’s Katie Edmiston provided a great wrap up of activities being undertaken by both SLQ and in partnership with public libraries across Queensland.  This was followed by two keynote speakers to wrap up the day – Dr Bridie Kean, Lecturer, Public Health and the Program Lead of the Master of Health Promotion (MHP) and Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion at University of Sunshine Coast, who shared an inspirational presentation on why inclusion matters. 

Our second keynote speaker of the day was Chris Boden, Director of Peregian Digital Hub, for an enlightening exploration into the dynamic intersection of libraries and Artificial Intelligence. Leveraging his diverse experience in the tech sector, Chris offered unique insights into how libraries can play a crucial role in the age of AI. This thought-provoking session will revealed how libraries are positioned not just to adapt but to thrive and lead our communities in the digital era.

Wrapping up the day was the Wine and Cheese Networking event which provided a great opportunity for delegates to catch up with each other, make new acquaintances, as well as celebrate the handover of the annual Local Buy rebate cheque to QPLA.  There was a 10% increase on last years rebate, with these funds used to support the delivery of professional development activities for QPLA member library staff across the state. 

The inaugural Cheryl Haughton Scholarship was presented to Anna Kinney, City of Moreton Bay to undertake research around sustainability in library collections, with findings to be presented at QPLA 2024 Conference.  Cheryl Haughton was instrumental in the establishment of QPLA and was humbled to have the scholarship named after her.  Cheryl was on hand to make the presentation.

The 2023 Local Government Awards were also announced with three prizes being awarded.

  • Gold – $1000 – Townsville Citylibraries – Citylibraries Riverway Build and Grand Opening
  • Silver –$500 – Noosa Libraries – Beyond the Walls – transforming a traditional Mobile Library service to a new-multifunctional outreach service
  • Bronze – $500 – Paroo Shire Council – The Evolution of Cunnamulla Library

The 2024 QPLA Conference host was also announced with Townsville Citylibraries confirmed. The 2024 Conference will be held 9-11 October 2024 in Townsville to coincide with the Northern Australian Festival of Arts, and Townsville Citylibraries Festival of Stories 11-12 October 2024.  The library team are looking forward to showcasing Townsville and all that Townsville Citylibraries has to offer.

Day Two, saw serious fan-girling at a high level with the indomitable Yumi Stynes as the keynote speaker.  Yumi provided a great overview of her journey to author and podcast host, along with the challenges she has faced recently with the controversial feedback and media scrutiny of her book ‘Welcome to Sex’.  

Second speaker of the day was Angela Meyer around sustainability in the publishing industry.  Angela developed the report published in early 2023 for BookPeople (formerly the Australian Booksellers Association), looking at sustainability issues from a bookselling point of view.  Angela presented an update of where the industry is at whit environmental sustainability and what it could mean for libraries.

The second round of Lightning Talks were held just before lunch including digital sustainability in Heritage collections, inclusion in libraries, redesigning outreach services, advocacy opportunities and considering dementia in the library space.  

Lighting Talks continue to rate as the most popular component of the PD and Conference events to allow libraries to showcase the amazing work they are doing in their communities and help build connections with other staff across the state who may also be interested in pursuing similar activities.  The ten-minute presentations also help library staff to undertake their first conference/PD presentations to an audience, which is a great professional development activity.

ALIA CEO, Cathie Warburton provided a great roundup of ALIA activities over the past year after lunch.  With our final speaker of the day, 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year, Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, joining us online following a few international technical difficulties, to provide an inspirational overview of his journey.  Dr Palipana OAM, is a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate and researcher.  He is the only quadriplegic to graduate medical school in Queensland and the second person from Australia to have quadriplegia graduate from medical school.  This presentation was one of the key highlights for delegates and provided a very inspiring end to the PD event.

Delegates were then provided with an opportunity to tour the Noosaville and Cooroy Library branches, hosted by the amazing Noosa team.  The QPLA Board and Noosa Libraries provided a great experience for public library staff to connect with colleagues and hear inspiring presentations over the two days in a beautiful setting. 

We also thank our generous sponsors for continuing to support our QPLA events: Local Buy, Ulverscroft, The Book House, MDM Entertainment, RAECO, Peter Pal, James Bennett and Bolinda.

Looking forward to doing it all again next year.


Nicole Hunt

President, QPLA

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