VALA Tech Camp 2019 Diversity Scholarship, sponsored by Linux Australia

VALA proudly announces the successful applicant of the Tech Camp 2019 Diversity Scholarship sponsored by Linux Australia is Corinna Baerhold, Moranbah Library Supervisor at Isaac Regional Libraries.

Corinna has an interest in community engagement possibilities inside as well as outside the library space and was selected largely based on her intention to bring the knowledge she gains at tech camp to her community – via email and the Isaac Library Wiki page in the SLQ wiki, and through blog writing for SLQ.

This scholarship enables individuals facing barriers such as geographical isolation, financial or under-representation, to participate in library and technical events, with the financial support to help them achieve their career goals. Corinna will receive free registration to Tech Camp 2019 in April, as well as flights and accommodation up to the value of $2,000.

Congratulations Corinna. We look forward to welcoming you to Tech Camp 2019!

Video interview with Corinna Baerhold

Read Corinna’s report below and view the video interview:

Despite the cold, when I got off the plane in Melbourne I was really excited about the opportunity given to join the Vala Tech Camp 2019, funded through the Diversity Scholarship by Linux Australia.

The mix of short talks and workshops gave participants the opportunity to hear about myriad technology related topics in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums sector. Workshops, run on both days, allowed participants to try hands on solutions to data, coding and electronics challenges.

Short talks were presented by a variety of speakers from various backgrounds giving a comprehensive overview of the topics and the areas they can be applied in. The focus of all talks was on forward thinking, preservation in all areas of GLAM and a “hunger” for exploration, outlining new ways of supporting our communities.

While it was difficult to choose from the range of workshops, I decided to attend the “Introduction to programming with Python” and “Make a gadgety … thing?” workshop. Python as a versatile programming language is vital to programming the NAO robot, which is why I attended the workshop. Starting at an introductory level, the workshop was example based and focused on problem solving, giving a general overview of the basic coding structure with Python.

In the “Make a gadgety … thing?” workshop participants were able to build and learn about using electronics to solve issues in the library environment through a NodeMCU, the program Arduino, creating an API and RFID. Within an incredible two hours participants had created an RFID reader, connected to an Excel spreadsheet via Wi-Fi and API, reading out data. This was an experience I will have to recreate to make sure I can replicate the result and use the acquired information for my library service.

I would like to encourage anyone who might be thinking about applying for the Diversity Scholarship in the future to do so and to share the information with anyone who would otherwise not be able to attend. I have been inspired by the individuals I was able to meet and I am grateful for the connections made, allowing me to further discuss challenges and possibilities in GLAM.

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.”

Read Lisa’s post-event report HERE.
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.”

Read Donna’s post-event report HERE.
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.”

Read Joyce’s post-event report HERE.


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.