Williamson Award 2012


Christine MackenzieThe 2012 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Christine Mackenzie from the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service.


VALA’s most prestigious award is the Robert D. Williamson Award. This award is in memory of one of the early pioneers of our industry, Bob Williamson. This biennial award is also presented to an individual or organisation who or which, in the opinion of the judging panel, has made and is currently making an outstanding contribution to the development of information technology usage in Australian libraries and is positively and significantly influencing development in information technology usage within libraries.



Our recipient tonight has been a major contributor and innovator within the Australian library profession. Whilst never a “geek”, the recipient has a well-honed ability to identify and apply emerging technologies within library contexts.

This ability has resulted in the introduction of many firsts into Australian library management and service delivery. Some examples include:

  • Introducing the first 24×7 “follow-the-sun” online reference service, in collaboration with UK & U.S. library services
  • Introducing the first eBook reading devices into Australia (which were loaded by the shelf-ready supplier and loaned within a public library branch)
  • Trialling and introducing the first RFID installation in Australia (and in the process produced the findings that customer self-service is as much about check-in as check-out)
  • In collaboration with VICNET, implementing the first public-access internet terminals in Victorian libraries (which included the first social networking services in Australia)
  • Pioneering the application of third-party discovery layers over back-end library systems
  • Introducing the “Learning 23 Things” program into Australia – imbuing library staff with the new principles and practices of ‘social networking”, “web 2.0” and “Library 2.0”
  • The first implementation of full shelf-ready services, combined with supplier-aided selection (producing industry best KPI’s and now known as the Brisbane Model)
  • Being currently engaged with the NBN roll-out to leverage any Public Library benefit

The recipient has represented the Australian library profession on many international bodies, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Bertlesman Foundation and IFLA. The recipient has also made many contributions to the profession in National and Local contexts, including the Australian Library and Information Association, Public Libraries Victoria Network and VICLINK.

The recipient is highly respected, with a reputation as one who will engage, share and collaborate to forward the profession. This award publicly acknowledges multiple outstanding contributions to, and significant influences on, Australian libraries and their delivery platforms.

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the Robert D. Williamson Award for 2012 is –

Christine Mackenzie.