Tasmanian Library Advisory Board

About the Tasmanian Library Advisory Board

The Tasmanian Library Advisory Board (TLAB) is a voluntary, independent advisory group established under the Libraries Act 1984. The Board’s role is to advise the Minister and the Secretary on issues concerning the delivery of our services in Tasmania, in particular, the public's right of access to information and ideas. The Board meets four times per year.

Read the TLAB Strategic Action Plan 2021-2024 (pdf)

Members of the Tasmanian Library Advisory Board

The current members of the TLAB are:

  • Ms Mary Bent, PSM (Chairperson)
  • Dr Mary Duniam
  • Ms Jen Fitzgerald
  • Dr Dianne Snowden, AM
  • Ms Mary Lijnzaad
  • Ms Jan Butler
  • Cr Dick Adams, OAM
  • Ms Sue Costello
  • Ms Suzanne Martin
  • Ms Jan Richards AM
  • Alderman Beth Warren
  • Councillor Jo Westwood
  • Ms Sue McKerracher, (Executive Director, Libraries Tasmania)

To make contact with the TLAB please telephone (03) 6165 5559

Board member profiles:

Mary Bent PSM

Ms Mary Bent, PSM (Chairperson)

Mary has been Chair of the Tasmanian Library Advisory Board since 2012.

Mary began her working career as a librarian and later transferred to the health sector where she undertook senior executive roles in the Tasmanian Department of Health . After she retired from those positions, she served several terms on the boards of a number of community organisationis including Relationships Australia Tasmania , 26TEN and Primary Health Tasmania. Mary has post graduate qualifications in health economics and librarianship.

In 2010 she was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service particularly in public health and human services in Tasmania.

Dr Mary Duniam

Dr Mary Duniam

Dr Duniam’s expertise is in local government. She has been a Councillor of Waratah-Wynyard for seventeen years, Deputy Mayor for eight years and is Deputy Chief Representative of the Cradle Coast Authority.

In 2017, Mary obtained a PhD relating to local government and social enterprises in Tasmania, illustrating that community is the potential terrain for social entrepreneurship and collective impact. She has also co-authored chapters in three separate research publications.

Mary is a current Board Member of the Tasmanian Women’s Council and the Tasmanian Heritage Council; and is also Deputy Chief Representative on the Cradle Coast Authority.

Ms Jen Fitzgerald

Ms Jen Fitzgerald

Jen has been a TLAB member since 2011, representing the interest of state-wide library users.

Jen came to the Board after working as an Adult Education tutor, and describes herself as a passionate library user. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the increased provision of digital items and digital access and believes that the broad learning opportunities and accessible services available at local Libraries work to improve quality of life for community members.

Jen's previous board experience has focused on education and local community development. Her employment history has been predominantly in the non-government sector.

Dr Dianne Snowden, AM

Dr Dianne Snowden, AM

Dianne has been a TLAB member since 2008, representing the interests of state-wide library users.

Dr Snowden is a professional historian, heritage consultant and genealogist. She served as Chair of the Tasmanian Heritage Council from 2012-2014 and lectured in online Family History at University of Tasmania from 2014 to 2016. Dianne taught Adult Education classes in family history for more than 25 years.

Dianne is Chair of the Cascades Female Factory Community Advisory Committee and founding member of the Female Convicts Research Centre. She is a former Director of the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) and the National Archives of Australia Advisory Council.

Dianne’s most recent publication (with Irish historian Joan Kavanagh) is Van Diemen’s Women: A history of Transportation to Tasmania.

Ms Mary Lijnzaad

Ms Mary Lijnzaad

Mary Lijnzaad is the manager of the library at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), and has worked with that collection for 22 years. She worked in disability services and staff training for 10 years prior to moving to Tasmania in 1996 where she retrained in library services.

Mary has a passion for libraries and the provision of access to quality information and educational services that enable lifelong learning. She also has a keen interest in library technologies and design and how they can be utilised to improve user outcomes.

Ms Jan Butler

Ms Jan Butler

Jan has been a TLAB member since 2016, representing the interests of state-wide library users.

Jan taught mathematics and computing for over 20 years at secondary and tertiary level in various parts of Australia. Most recently, Jan was Executive Officer of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, responsible for managing all aspects of the organisation including finance, compliance, conference organising and publicity.

Jan is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a senior member of the Australian Computer Society. Previous board positions include Musica Viva Tasmania and St Mary’s College, Hobart.

Jan has an Honours degree in Mathematics and Statistics and postgraduate qualifications in education, educational computing and French. As an IT expert, Jan is interested in the development of digital technologies, the future of books, and how libraries are adapting to the changes brought to the Internet.

Cr Dick Adams, OAM

Cr Dick Adams, OAM

Cr Adams has been a TLAB member since 2016, representing the Local Government of Tasmania as the north of Tasmania nominee.

Dick has a lifelong interest in adult literacy. He is the Patron, and a Life Member of the Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy. He is well known for his advocacy for adult learners in Tasmania. Dick was a National Ambassador of the National Year of Reading for 2012 and is a member of the Tasmanian Book Council.

Dick has sat in both State and Federal Parliaments, the latter for 20 years finishing in 2013. He has been involved in many committees included chairing the Parliamentary Library Joint Committee and was the Federal Parliament representative on the National Library Board. On leaving Federal Parliament in 2013, Dick was elected to the Northern Midlands Council.

Sue Costello

Ms Sue Costello

Sue is passionate about the role of education in enabling all Tasmanians to improve their economic and social participation. For five years, she led the state’s implementation of 26TEN’s strategy to improving the adult literacy and numeracy levels of all Tasmanians. Based on business, community and people working together on a common agenda, Sue drove a collective place-based approach to improving adult literacy skills. Foundational to this work is Sue’s firsthand management experience of the role libraries can play in servicing the information and learning needs of Tasmanians in the Huon Valley.

Sue’s public and private sector experience shows a passion for social policy change.

Across a range of federal government departments including Prime Minister and Cabinet and Family and Community Services, Sue worked on retirement incomes policy, youth homelessness, developing a national youth servicing strategy, income support and status of women issues. Working in Parliament House also gave her first-hand experience into federal politics and the machinery of government at the highest level. In Victoria, she led a major business redesign project across Centrelink offices to improve business efficiency.

A career change saw Sue retrain as a teacher. With qualifications in economics, adolescent counselling, education and career development, her purpose was to help young people to have a full and happy life. This led to managing Youth Services for a large not for profit organisation, servicing disadvantaged young people across outer east Victoria.

 Now living in Northwest Tasmania, Sue’s journey has also involved a range of executive, secretariat or board roles that support servicing people within her local community. She has also presented at state, national, and international conferences advocating for improved educational outcomes for adults and young people.

Ms Suzanne Martin

Sue is a graduate of the Tasmanian Leaders Program and the Australian Rural Leadership Program. She has held roles on the executive committees of the Australian Veterinary Association (Tasmanian Division) and Tasmanian Women in Agriculture and is a past recipient of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s Community Leadership Scholarship.

Sue believes that libraries need to continue to evolve and adapt to our changing world so everyone in our society continues to be able to access the information and related services that they need and can do so in a way that is relevant to the world in which they live.

Sue is a veterinary surgeon and an active member of her rural community in northern Tasmania. Suzanne has held a number of positions on a wide range of government and industry boards and committees.

Sue was appointed as a public member of the Press Council in August 2013.

Ms Jan Richards AM

Jan has extensive public library experience (30 + years) at a senior management level, and a strong record of working with local, state and federal governments in advocating for libraries. In late 2020 she moved to Tasmania from NSW, making the change from managing a large, multi-council, regional library service into consultancy (Jan Richards Consulting). Jan thrives on working with colleagues, giving them the proficiencies and confidence to make positive change.

Jan is a past President and Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), and past Chair (2008-2020) of the Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA). In her APLA role she worked closely with colleagues from Libraries Tasmania and has a clear understanding of the history, successes and challenges that face the network.

Jan is an engaged affiliate of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and have held a number of elected positions over the past decade in the areas of Public Libraries, Literacy and Reading and Standards.

Beth Warren

Alderman Beth Warren

Beth Warren has a lifelong passion for information and good communication, having completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Information Science (later called IT). She has a keen interest in the appropriate use of technology as the foundation for streamlining business processes; and is focussed on providing high quality data to support informed decision making. This was gained through many years working in the software development industry, business analysis and project management of software systems.

She has built a career based on explaining complicated concepts in plain English.

Beth is currently an Alderman on Clarence City Council and sings with the TSO Chorus.

Councillor Jo Westwood

Councillor Jo Westwood

Jo is the Deputy Mayor of Kingborough (since early 2018) and has held high level positions within the Tasmanian Government providing advice to Ministers and senior Departmental staff.

Jo is an active user of Libraries Tasmania and embraces lifelong learning. She participates on numerous committees and associations, in a variety of roles. Jo has recently completed a Professional Honours in Public Sector Leadership and Management with the University of Tasmania. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jo is a mother of four young children, the youngest being five. They are all regular users of the Tasmanian Libraries services both online and in person. She represents Kingborough Council on The Basics Steering Committee which aims to engage the community to help families ensure children receive the best start in life.

Sue Mckerracher

Ms Sue McKerracher

TLAB member (Secretary's nominee) and Executive Director Libraries Tasmania since 2021

Sue has been a CEO and Board Director working across government, business and the not-for-profit sectors in the UK and Australia, with special expertise in Australian libraries, library education and literacy.

Previously, Sue held the position of CEO, for the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the peak body for libraries and information professionals, heading up the team based at ALIA House, Canberra, and staff working in every state.

In this role, she pursued a broad range of interests on behalf of ALIA members, including lobbying for copyright law reform, supporting humanities research, improving digital access to cultural collections, championing Australian writing, developing an early language and literacy strategy, and ensuring quality education.

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