Williamson Award Recipients

Williamson AwardThe 2016 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Mal Booth, from University of Technology, Sydney.


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.



The 2016 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Mal Booth, from University of Technology, Sydney.


The 2016 Williamson Award recipient does not have a traditional library career, but has invested the past 20 years making a significant difference in a number of library and cultural settings.

He first worked in the sector in 1996 as the Head of the People Management and Development Team in one of Australia’s major cultural institutions. He became Head of the Institution’s Research Centre in 2001 with a focus on digitising fragile and high-use records in one of Australia’s largest and most culturally significant specialist collections.

In 2006 he curated an exhibition which featured the innovative use of archival and library collections and forged strong relationships with overseas institutions for loans and promotion of the material. This exhibition attracted 250,000 visitors and remains one of the most successful temporary exhibitions of its kind.

He is a pioneer in the adoption and use of social media and new technologies, and instrumental in setting up the Institution’s blog, enabling staff to discuss their interests and stories and strengthening relationships with the public.

He is a trailblazer in the development of podcasts in Australian cultural institutions, where he was instrumental in the implementation and effective use of Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. This enabled access to the Institution and its collections through social media, and encouraged more visitations to exhibitions, public programs and the website.

Arguably, his greatest legacy at this institution is his work in digitising collections and making them available online. Digital preservation and access online continues today on the foundations of the work he established.

He has been recognized by his peers as an idea’s person and someone who has challenged many library sacred cows. As early as 2010 he started introducing Design Thinking methodologies at his University Library to co-create library services and empower staff at all levels in planning for the future.

Over the last few years his work has focused on being an advocate for openness and new models of scholarly publishing, and on pushing boundaries in Library design - moving beyond spaces and technology, and seeing the library as connecting people, culture and knowledge.

He is well known for generously sharing his thoughts about the role of libraries in society, and about the challenges we face, acknowledging that we have power as a profession to change things for the better. His blog is always thought-provoking and he is a highly sought-after speaker at international conferences.

He is an inspiration to many in the profession and well-respected even if he only occasionally wears a tie.

It is with great pleasure that the VALA Committee has unanimously endorsed Mal Booth as the 2016 Robert D. Williamson Award recipient.


    Alyson Kosina receives Williamson Award from      
Mrs Enid Williamson and VALA President Tom Edwards  

Alyson Kosina

The 2014 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Alyson Kosina, former VALA Executive Officer.

For more than thirty years the 2014 Williamson Award recipient has made an extraordinary and profound contribution to librarianship, especially in the area of library technology and innovation. This contribution has been felt across Australia and New Zealand, as well as across all library sectors. Indeed, the level of debate regarding library IT and innovation would be significantly less were it not for the tireless efforts of this year's Williamson recipient. It is also worth noting that much of this work has been done with quiet efficiency and away from the spotlight. This year's recipient also knew Robert Williamson and Bob would be delighted with the Committee's choice.


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



Anne BeaumontThe 2010 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Anne Beaumont from the State Library of Victoria.

Pam JohnstoneElizabeth Drynan 

The 2008 Robert D. Williamson Award went to Elizabeth Drynan and Pamela Johnstone, from Enterprise Information Management Pty Ltd, for their outstanding contribution to librarianship as editors of Online Currents.

Williamson Award

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