VALA2018 Diversity Scholarships

The VALA2018 Diversity Scholarships, sponsored by EBSCO, go to following three deserving recipients…..

Many high-quality submissions were received, and after careful consideration, the following three applicants were selected.

Lisa HarthLisa Harth – Library Services Coordinator for nine branches of the Western Downs Regional Council – Dalby, QLD

“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.”


Donna KellionDonna Kellion – Mackay Regional Council Libraries

“The beautiful Mackay region is a member of the GW3, or the Greater Whitsunday Alliance, so we work very closely with our neighbours to the north in the Whitsunday region and the Isaac region to the west, so anything that I bring back from VALA will also be of benefit to those regions and further and beyond.

I have also just completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Audio Visual Archiving with Charles Sturt University which was fabulous and I’m very keen to get my hands down and dirty into some severe digitisation and would appreciate some direction on how to begin some of those programs.”


Joyce WilliamsJoyce Williams – City of Karratha – Karratha, WA

“As a lone librarian working in a remote region of WA, I spend considerable time connecting with peers and professionals online via user networks… trading valuable information in regard to the latest cutting edge library technology and ideas but rarely have the opportunity to share ideas and pick brains of tech-savvy professionals in person.

Our Pilbara world features some of the most innovative technology in the mining and gas industries and we believe our library is a space where young people of diverse origins can (and should) experience the exciting world of open technology. Providing such a space will seek to put us on par with other major centres.”


VALA recognises that regional, rural and indigenous members of the Library community face additional barriers to participation in both library and technical events. The Diversity Scholarship is offered to individuals who in normal circumstances would not generally attend a VALA event or would struggle to attend due to financial or other hardship.

The VALA2018 Diversity Scholarships would not be possible without the support of EBSCO. Please thank them by dropping in to Stands 75-76 at VALA2018.

EBSCO is “committed to providing professional development and networking opportunities for librarians looking to advance their careers. The 2018 VALA Diversity Scholarship presents an opportunity for librarians to share ideas, challenges and best practices with their peers. We look forward to attending VALA2018 and meeting our partners in the Australian library community.”

By supporting these three recipients with a diversity scholarship and a trip to Melbourne for VALA2018, we hope to not only support their career and academic pursuits but also empower them to encourage, inspire and impart knowledge to those in their own community.

VALA would like to extend a massive congratulations to all three deserving recipients, we cannot wait to see what you do with this opportunity.



VALA Tech Camp 2017 Linux Australia Diversity Scholarship

Nathan Sentance
Nathan Sentance at Tech Camp with
Kathy Reid from Linux Australia

The VALA Tech Camp 2017 Linux Australia Diversity Scholarship goes to Nathan Sentance.

Linux Australia sponsored the Diversity Scholarship for this event, which after a rigorous selection process was awarded to Nathan Sentance, a proud Wiradjuri man who works for the Australian Museum. Nathan will be able to share learnings from the event with his community. 

Nathan is currently working as the Project Officer for Cultural Programs | Programs, Exhibitions & Cultural Collections at the Australian Museum.


Congratulations, Nathan!


Read Nathan’s report below:

Winning the VALA/Linux Diversity Scholarship and attending VALA Tech Camp was an invaluable experience for my career. I have long had an interest in being part of something like the VALA Tech Camp as I believe information technology presents exciting opportunities for Aboriginal communities to access, revitalise and disseminate our culture and knowledge. Just have a look at the many language apps coming out.

Libraries and similar memory institutions have long been considered gatekeepers in regards to records relating to Aboriginal culture and history, but in the digital space that control can be handed back to community and potential access barriers may be minimised.

Because of this, VALA Tech Camp sessions such as the introduction to Python were handy to my personal and professional development as it can help increase of understanding in regards to computer science which in turn I will use to help increase access to cultural heritage information for community as well as preserve it digitally. Additionally, the more I increase my digital literacy skills the more I will attempt to share those skills with my community and in this digital age those are not just useful, they are necessary.

There were many other great sessions too, especially the session that related data visualisation, which is important to make data visible, accessible and discoverable. This is important, not just for libraries, but many information services, as we need to aid people to understand the statistics, particular those statistics that relate to disadvantage or inequality. The more public awareness and understanding the more the underlining issues can be examined.

The podcasting session was also interesting and fun. It demonstrated the different ways libraries can engage the public. Moreover, the cryptoparties session was inspiration at the types of literacy workshops libraries can host and be involved in.

Lastly, one of the most valuable experiences I can take away from VALA Tech Camp was the people I meet during it. They were all willing to share their passion and knowledge. They gave me potential resources I can use to achieve my objectives as well as motivation to ensure I that I will.

Mandaang guwu (thank you) to VALA and Linux for the opportunity.