VALA2024 Organising Committee

Conference Co-Chairs:


Michelle McLean
Public Libraries

Michelle is passionate about professional development, libraries and technology.  She is able to work with these, both in her role as Lead Shared Services with Public Libraries Victoria and in her work on the VALA Committee. Michelle previously worked in Information Services and Technology positions in Victorian public libraries for over 37 years and has been part of the massive development of technology in all our library sectors.  She is a past-recipient of a Ramsay Reid Scholarship (State Library of Victoria), alumni of the Aurora Institute, is a published author and has presented at many conferences and seminars around Australia, as well as in the US. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Librarianship) and a Master of Business (Information Technology).             Follow Michelle on:     


Sae Ra Germaine

Sae Ra is the Deputy CEO and Manager, Member & Academic Services, VALA President, and a Linux Australia Council Member. Sae Ra is a strong advocate for IT and Open Source especially in the Library industry. As a side gig in her not so day job Sae Ra is a serial conference organiser running the inaugural Everything Open Conference, 5’s, VALA2022, and now VALA2024! Sae Ra is also heavily involved in the advocating for greater internet accessibility including re-introducing the Internet Governance Forum to Australia and was invited to provide evidence on behalf of internet users at the NBN Joint Parliamentary Committee hearing in 2018. In the library space Sae Ra has been key in bringing the first installation of the open source Library Management Platform FOLIO to Australia. Oh also, she cross-stitches.               Follow Sae Ra on:      


Committee Members:

Andrew Iacuone
VALA Treasurer

Andrew has over 25 years’ experience in the university and not for profit sectors including his more than seven years at La Trobe University Library as Associate University Librarian, Planning and Environments. Andrew’s experience in infrastructure and project planning, finance, resources and HR management together with strategic and business planning led him to the library world eight years ago. His interests are in delivering an outstanding digital and place based library environment to the student cohorts within a challenging and changing academic library space. His achievements include the development of Digital Learning Labs across all five Library campuses and the new La Trobe Library, Bendigo Campus which received a Commendation at the 2021 Australian Interior Design Awards. 

Kat Cain
Deakin University

Powered by coffee and curiosity, Kat Cain is a dynamic and people-focused leader with a passion for designing learning experiences and a keen interest in technology. With a diverse background in both the academic and public library sectors, her work has consistently centered around literacies, learning, and the digital affordances that enable them. As a Library Partner for Deakin University, Kat is dedicated to strategic relationship management and engagement to ensure library services are delivered with maximum impact. This exploratory and inherently collaborative role perfectly aligns with Kat’s preferred work style and allows her to focus on connections and synergies. Outside work, Kat has a long-term focus on all things caffeinated.                                       Follow Kat on:

Shelley Carroll
Geelong Regional Libraries

Shelley is the Manager, Digital Solutions at the Geelong Regional Library Corporation. She has a passion for helping people of all ages bridge the digital divide so they become aware of all of the amazing things that technology can do for them, and recently completed a Master of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) at CSU to help further her skills to do so. 

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Tracy Dexter-Ingram
Victoria University Library

Tracy is the Senior Librarian at Victoria University City Tower Library and, amongst many other things, is responsible for eReserve/Readings administration and leads an amazing team of campus library staff.  She is an advocate for the student experience and is passionate about research, referencing and academic integrity. Amongst her interests are user-centred design, system integration, database management, dash-boarding and story-telling with statistics.                             Follow Tracy on:    

Mary Filsell
ARDC (Australian Research Data Commons)

Backed by over 20 years supporting and promoting GLAM & researchers across HASS and STEM, Mary is super passionate about connecting researchers with competitive advantage through data.                                 Follow Mary on:   

Bec Muir

Bec is the Coordinator, Disability Inclusion at Deakin University and has 15 years’ experience across public and academic libraries. Neurodivergent by day and a tech-cessibility fangirl by night, Bec is a passionate advocate for True Openness in the worlds of Open Access, Open Education, and Open Source. An active practitioner-researcher with an interest in libraries and evidence-informed practice, Bec is also currently part of the IFLA international working group on library standards for autistic patrons. 

Senn Oon
Curtain University

Senn is a creative dabbler and library studies student living on Turrbul and Yuggera land in Meanjin/Brisbane. By day, they can be found wrangling health data or teaching researchers how to work with data using code. By night, they instead wrangle their cats and voraciously consume fiction. Their infrequently-updated personal chunk of the internet can be found at 

Caroline Ramsden

Caroline is an experienced systems librarian with a strong background in public libraries. With additional experience with vendor and metadata management roles, Caroline has developed a deep understanding of library systems and optimising their functionality to meet evolving library needs. Beyond her professional pursuits, Caroline finds rejuvenation in weekend walks, helping her to achieve balance in life. Caroline is passionate about all things library, and even on holidays can be found checking out the local library in every town she visits.                             Follow Caroline on:  

Karen Seligman
Public Libraries

Karen is a librarian who has focussed on helping communities develop digital literacy, and improving access to STEM/STEAM education opportunities.  She became a Library Kid when she was growing up in an apartment above a public library in Hong Kong.  With a love of libraries and a background in chemistry, Karen works hard to showcase the value of libraries and science education to society.  Karen works for Yarra Plenty Regional Library, and is currently gaining additional experience in the academic and schools sectors. Karen was most recently part of the organising committee for VALA Tech Camp 2023.

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Nica Tsakmakis
Australian Catholic University

Nica Tsakmakis is a Digital Capability Librarian on the Brisbane campus of Australian Catholic University. She loves helping people find the information they are after in any form whether it is a digital object, a physical book or even the right prompt for genAI tools. You can’t follow her anywhere on social media because she finds her peace in swimming on her lunch breaks and building wonky things out of wood.

And our sincere thanks to Cory Greenwood of Yarra Libraries for marketing support.