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Stephen named Library Achiever for COVID response

LIbrary Achiever Award
Information Services Librarian Stephen Harris recognised with a Queensland Library Achiever of the Year award. Source: Linkedin

A multitude of initiatives has landed Council’s Information Services Librarian Stephen Harris a Queensland Library Achiever of the Year award.

The award was presented by the Australian Library Information Services Association (ALIA) for Stephen’s prompt response in continuing to advocate library services throughout the pandemic and keeping the community engaged online.

“I was absolutely astounded to receive the award because most of the time it goes to university libraries, so it was massively unexpected,” said Stephen.

“I was really proud of the fact that I received the award as many other libraries closed their doors and made staff redundant when the pandemic hit.

“Instead we transitioned to an online environment almost immediately and replicated our programs using zoom and essentially creating remote programs.

“We also partnered with local business Jabiru to make use of the library’s 3D printer to produce face masks for Queensland hospitals when global supplies were low.”

Moving programs online hasn't just secured Stephen the library achiever recognition, he said it has opened new opportunities for the library and, going forward, the library will have two aspects of engagement.

“We’ve tapped into a different audience online with people who wouldn’t normally visit the library,” Stephen said.

“E-Sports for kids through gaming has created more interaction with gamers around the world.

“For example, our inhouse chess players are vastly different to those online who are highly skilled. Many of them are younger people logging in from India and other overseas countries.

“Online poetry reading has given our community the chance to engage with international experts in their field which wouldn’t have otherwise happened.”

Stephen’s library achiever award also recognised his work with advocacy for his profession including the professional development he did during the pandemic.

“I attended zoom Library Association conferences in America and got to have conversations with participants, even people like actor Natalie Portman who was one of the speakers,” Stephen said.

“Needing to stay relevant and resilient during a crisis is extremely important for our profession.”

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